Post offices the lifeblood of towns

NATIMUK Post and Paper owner Steve Knoll believes post offices are the lifeblood of country towns.

His comments follow reports that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission supports the sale of Australia Post to a private company.

The Australian Financial Review reported on Monday that commission chairman Rod Sims had urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to sell assets such as Australia Post and push for the privatisation of state-owned energy companies.

But Mr Knoll said he did not believe privatisation would happen any time soon.

"I'm not getting too worried yet," he said.

"Politically, I think it is a long way off.

"I'm 55, and my retirement plan will be well in place before anything happens."

Mr Knoll has owned the business for 21 years.

He said people in regional Victoria relied heavily on their post offices.

"It is one of the most viable businesses in a town along with the hotel and milk bar," he said.

"Sometimes those businesses are even combined in one location."

Communication Workers Union of Australia Victorian secretary Joan Doyle said the sale of Australia Post would be a disaster for communities.

''Australia is a really big continent and it's sparsely populated and the whole postal service works on a cross-subsidisation process,'' she said.

Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission commissioner Stephen King said he strongly favoured the sale of Australia Post.

He said the national broadband network would make the old-fashioned letter redundant.

"It should certainly be looked at, and my own view is it probably should be privatised,'' he said.

"The government is building and will own a national broadband network that will link rural and regional Australia to urban Australia with universal service.

"Once that's done, why on earth does Australia Post have to have universal service?''

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government had no plans to privatise Australia Post.

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