Small business operators have raised concerns with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, noting that Australia Post appears to be providing volume discounts to big customers sending large amounts of parcel mail.
Carnell is currently considering options to level the playing field for small businesses.
“Concerns have been raised with me by small business operators regarding their capacity to compete with big business when it comes to online sales,” she said.
“One of the biggest barriers that small businesses face online is the cost of sending parcels.”
In one example given, a music shop in regional South Australia was quoted $75 to send a small guitar to a post office in North Queensland, while a larger competitor was able to offer free postage.
“I am examining options to level the playing field for small business to compete fairly with big business when it comes to sending goods within Australia,” Carnell added. “One option may be to establish a buying collective.
“In many cases, the online presence of a small business enables a physical store to remain open in suburbs and regional towns where it might otherwise not be viable.
“A physical store contributes to council rates, vibrancy and economic activity, which are all vital to the sustainability of local communities.”