WIMMERA Development Association executive director Ralph Kenyon say it is “always disappointing” when small towns lose essential services.
His comments come after Marnoo’s Post Office and Milk Bar shut down last month, with residents only given a few weeks notice of the closure.
Its closure was imminent after former owners Robyn McLachlan and Norman McLean put the business up for sale in 2015.
Australia Post informed residents they would need to collect parcels from the depot in Stawell following the closure.
Mr Kenyon said resolutions like this were “typical” of metropolitan-based decision making.
“They don’t understand the issues faced by people in these small communities and the importance of these facilities that are really the fabric of the community,” Mr Kenyon said.
Mr Kenyon said although banks were the most common type of business closing in small towns, more post offices had shut up shop in recent years.
“Ever since Australia Post became corporatised a few years ago, postal services in regional area have been cut down,” he said.
With populations shrinking in regional towns, Mr Kenyon said it was important for communities to band together and support essential services.
“To make these businesses viable, there needs to be a population wanting the demand of these services and a lot of these town’s have declining populations,” he said. “I understand the economic impact of keeping these services, but small towns are more than just their economy.”
Mr Kenyon said the closure of small businesses in regional towns could “possibly get worse”.
“We are always exploring opportunities to increase economic opportunities to the region and looking at ways to support the economy of these small towns, it’s an unfortunate fact of life,” he said.
“We have seen with the Silo Art Trail that there are opportunities to stimulate our towns in the long-term.
“The difference is that there is no easy solution and we need to work collaboratively. That might mean that communities band together to facilitate these services in the future to keep them viable.”
Last week, an Australia Post spokesperson said residents had the option to change the default location of their parcel collection online or by calling 13 76 78.
They also said a “temporary arrangement” was being made for parcels to be collected from a local business in Marnoo.