Australia Post has permanently backed down on its plans to stop perishable goods being sent through the mail. In April, AusPost said it was going to stop sending products like smallgoods, truffles, salmon and spices on June 30, citing health concerns. Later that month, it put the ban on hold, to review its controversial decision.
Now, it has apologized for causing so much uncertainty for producers who rely on the service to send their produce to customers. Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson, was called in by the federal government to work with Australia Post to find an alternative solution.
"For so many families and small businesses across regional Australia, this is a vital lifeline," the ombudsman told abc.net.au. "It's getting great produce, artisan food offerings, some of the great output from rural and regional communities into their customers hands and we wondered what had brought this on."
Billson said the proposed ban on sending perishable goods sprung from a hypothetical. "If some fantastic goats cheese out of Gippsland left in great shape but landed on the porch of a business in Karratha in the peak of summer, it wouldn't be in great shape for very long," he said. "[Australia Post] wondered whether they may have been exposed to some kind of risk or potential litigation from that kind of outcome."
Mr Billson said food producers across Australia, especially those in remote areas, were "really distressed, confused, and bewildered" when Australia Post made its initial announcement in April.