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Southbank ‘needs a post office’

15 Nov 2011

Local traders and residents alike are frustrated by the lack of a post office in Southbank.

Southbank lost its post office last year when the Freshwater Place outlet was withdrawn. It came just weeks after the Southbank Strategic Plan 2010 revealed the plan to increase residential population in the area to 74,000 by 2040.

The closure of the Freshwater Place address means there is now no post office within the 3006 postcode.

Commercial and tenant services manager at Freshwater Place Trish Finnegan says there was angst at the time of the closure, and this has continued throughout 2011.

“The commercial tenants at Freshwater Place were not happy about the closure. The post office had a variety of services it provided to our tenants in addition to the private boxes,” Ms Finnegan explained.

“Tenants have had to look for alternative options to ensure continuity of their business once the post office service ceased operating,” she added.

Asked if she thought there was sufficient business available for a local post office, Ms Finnegan replied: “Yes, indeed.”

But Australia Post refutes this claim, suggesting that a major reason for the original closure was a lack of business.

Media and communications manager Mel Ward said: “Southbank Post Office closed more than 16 months ago due to a range of factors, including declining customer numbers.”

She also said there were several Australia Post offices within a reasonable distance for companies and residents in the Southbank area.

“There are five alternative post offices within 1.5km of Southbank including at Collins St West, Flinders Lane, Melbourne GPO, Docklands and South Melbourne,” Ms Ward pointed out.

Despite this, The Knight Alliance Owners Corporation manager George Martin (who managed the section of Freshwater Place that was occupied by Australia Post) said: “I understand that some people (local residents) would have preferred the post office to have remained in the arcade.”

Freshwater Place resident Keith Wood wants a post office to be reinstated in the local area.

“We’d like a post office but, at the very least, we should have permanent red and yellow boxes to send mail for the amount of residents and businesses around Freshwater Place,” Mr Wood said.

Mr Wood also runs a small business from home, so he has particularly missed the use of a private post box.

He also suggested that, despite the other locations being close, they were difficult to get to and often very full.

“The easiest from here is Collins St West, but it is nowhere near as convenient as having one here, especially late at night,” he said.

Australia Post confirmed that at this stage there were no plans to open a post office in Southbank, but it would continue to monitor the use of postal facilities in the area.

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