Senate passes postage fee motion

A motion has passed in the Senate to bring forward legislation which will give consumers the right to receive postal communications for free.

Kellie Northwood, executive director at Keep Me Posted says, “This is a tremendous win for the Keep Me Posted campaign and the wider paper, print and mail industries who have been working in a collaborated approach with Trade Unions, Australia Post and Community Groups to take a stand against this appalling attack on every Australian’s right to choose how they wish to receive communications.

“The Telstra Digital Inclusion Index shows that the most digitally excluded communities are people aged 65 and over, people with disability, Indigenous Australians, new migrants, people in the low-income bracket or not in paid employment. Currently, 3.5 million Australian do not have home internet access and ACCC’s Scamwatch reports 42 per cent of scams are delivered by email or on the email – we must follow our international colleagues and provide consumer protection for Australians.”

[Related: Pollies back calls for no paper penalties]

Addressing the Senate, Senator Anne Urquhart, moved the motion which was passed with a strong majority, gaining support from Labor, Greens, NXT and Independents.

Senator James McGrath, Queensland assistant minister to the Prime Minister says, “While the government agrees with the need to protect consumers and the sentiment of the motion, more work is needed before legislation can be considered.

“Michael McCormack, Minister for Small Business is investigating the area and reviewing the provisions within the current Australian Consumer Law legislation. He has met with consumer groups, including Keep Me Posted, on this matter on numerous occasions and is happy to discuss the process and advise senators in the near future.”

The Keep Me Posted campaign welcomes the support from Government with Northwood saying, “Amendments to the Australian consumer law remains the clearest path to prevent service providers and banks from charging a fee for electronic or paper transaction communications not only for consumers but also for the finance, telco and utility sectors who at the moment, do not have clear legislation either way.

“The charges are disproportionate to the cost incurred by business, if it is a cost of doing business it should be included upfront so consumers can accurately assess in an open market rather than be hit by hidden fees later in the transactional process. We ask all sides of politics to support legislative change and provide a representative voice to Australians.”

Keep Me Posted has been advocating for legislative change to restore consumer protection against unfair paper fees since its launch in April 2016.

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