Thousands of parcels are sitting undelivered in a Wollongong warehouse after Australia Post sacked the city’s delivery contractor.
It’s unclear exactly when the packages – which include Christmas presents – will turn up in mailboxes, as the government-owned postal corporation scrambles to get the deliveries back on track.
Australia Post has said the delays, just three weeks out from December 25, were the result of a new contractor being appointed to handle parcel deliveries. The Mercury understands the existing contractor was terminated.
However, an Australia Post spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm that was the case – saying only that one had left and a new one had started.
“We have appointed a new contractor to look after Wollongong and Menai parcel deliveries and we are working through the transition to the new arrangements,” the spokeswoman said.
“While some parcel deliveries may have been delayed during this changeover, we have brought on additional drivers and have been working around the clock to complete all deliveries as quickly as possible. We expect all operations to be back to normal by the weekend.”
Unanderra’s Carly Ledgerwood was among those left in limbo. Ms Ledgerwood ordered protein powder from a Melbourne-based supplements store on Friday.
It was due to be delivered on Monday, but still hadn’t arrived on Wednesday afternoon.
Thinking she’d misplaced her missed delivery card, the 34-year-old contacted the Unanderra post office to check if her parcel was there. It wasn’t.
Ms Ledgerwood said a staff member told her that “the Wollongong delivery contractor was sacked” and “there’s thousands and thousands of parcels there [in Wollongong] just waiting to be delivered and they’ve got no one to deliver them”.
She was told there was no public access to where the parcels were being stored – understood to be a facility at North Wollongong – and couldn’t collect it herself.
“They’re there indefinitely … we don’t know when they will ship them out or find someone else to do it,” she said.
“It’s just before Christmas and there’s thousands and thousands of packages that just aren’t getting to people.”
The spokeswoman stressed no parcels were being held; they were being processed, albeit slower than usual as the new contractor became familiar with its operations and parcel volumes.
Separate Australia Post online delivery trackers seen by the Mercury on Wednesday showed the most recent movements for two parcels were their arrival at a North Wollongong facility; one should have been delivered on Monday, the other on Wednesday. The customer expecting Wednesday’s delivery was sent a text message stating it was “unlikely to arrive today”. It didn’t.
Resident plays a waiting game
Australia Post has come under fire for a lack of communication over delivery delays caused by the appointment of a new contractor.
The company has been silent on the cause of the delays, according to one frustrated Wollongong customer.
“You get emails saying ‘this is when your delivery will come’, [but] nobody has emailed to say there is a delay,” Carly Ledgerwood, from Unanderra, said. “There’s no notification that you might not get your package for a couple of weeks, so that’s a bit annoying.”
An Australia Post spokeswoman said: “We would like to apologise to those customers whose parcels were delayed, and thank the community for their patience while we on-board the new contractor.”
Concerned customers can contact Australia Post on 13 POST (13 76 78) or via auspost.com.au.