Australia Post to partner government in digital mail drive
Just days after Australia Post warned its letter volumes were about to “fall off a cliff”, it has sealed a deal to help the government communicate with its citizens digitally. Australia Post chief executive gave a speech last week predicting the acceleration of the nation’s annual rate of decline in letter volumes when the government begins to deal with its citizens digitally.
The decline in letter volumes so far has seen 25% of the volume lost in the past six years, with the first half of 2014 prompting the first Group loss since 1989 as a result.
Now Australia Post has formed a partnership with the Department of Human Services that will launch a trial where citizens will be able to receive their government communications in their Australia Post MyPost Digital Mailbox.
The government said the trial would be an “important step” towards its plans to provide every Australian with a “unique, flexible and secure digital inbox”.
A government inbox service was launched in March this year, allowing citizens to receive digital communications regarding healthcare, child support, taxes and social services in a single location, including access through mobile devices.
The trial will see people able to have their government digital mail automatically forwarded from the myGov inbox to their MyPost Digital Mailbox as provided by Australia Post.
The government said its myGov service already has 4m accounts registered, but that the MyPost Digital Mailbox also allows people to receive mail from more than 30 major businesses, “with a further 20 businesses expected to join the service by the end of the year”. It would mean instead of logging in to multiple services to receive digital mail from government and utilities, customers would only have to log into their Australia Post inbox.
The ability for citizens to receive communications from Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, e-Health and the Australian Taxation Office is expected to significantly cut the physical letter volumes sent out by the government agencies.
Last Thursday Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour said the vast bulk of the nation’s physical letter volumes were sent by government and business, and suggested that Australia was currently lagging behind the rest of the developed world in the progress of its e-government.
“As soon as a government starts communicating and transacting with citizens online then total letter volumes in that nation start to plummet,” he said, pointing to what has happened in Denmark, Iceland an Norway.
He explained: “They all have superfast Broadband and they all have eGovernment adoption rates of roughly 80%. As a result, total letter volumes in those nations have already halved from the peak as governments have transitioned to online communications with their citizens.”
Australia currently has only 38% of people interacting with government online, but both major political parties want this to reach 80% by 2017.