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Snail mail

Tuesday, 31st May, 2016

By Craig Brealey

Letters posted locally with a $1 stamp to Broken Hill addresses can travel up to 2300 kilometres before they arrive in your letter box, according to information provided by Australia Post.

The BDT contacted the postal service after it noticed that local letters were taking three days to arrive at our office in Blende Street which is one-and-a-half blocks from the PO.

Before Australia Post (AP) introduced its Regular, Priority, Registered and Express stamp service in January, the mail was often delivered within a day.

Now only mail with the Priority stamp is processed at the post office in Argent Street, AP told the BDT.

A Priority stamp costs 50 cents more than a Regular, and AP promises delivery within one to four days.

But with the new system, local mail would still have to be sorted here in Broken Hill, according to what kind of stamp was attached to it. Having sorted the mail, why could it not then be delivered the next day, AP was asked, or was it being held up to try and make people pay the extra 50 cents?

“Local Priority mail for Broken Hill is processed locally,” an AP spokesman replied. 

“All other mail is transferred to our major mail centres in Adelaide or Sydney for processing, using advanced automation technology,” he said.

“We are pleased to report that we continue to exceed our service performance target of 94 per cent, delivering 95.7 per cent of letters on time. Our service performance is externally audited and verified.” 

The spokesman invited people to direct enquiries about their local mail delivery to auspost.com.au/help or to call 13 76 78.

The BDT does not recommend that you call this number because the Australia Post robot that answers the phone does not recognise the name “Broken Hill”.

It will ask you in which State you live and then to nominate your “suburb or town.”

“Broken Hill,” you say. 

“You said Baulkham Hills. Is that correct?

“No. Broken Hill.”

“You said Broken Head. Is that correct?.

“No. Broken Hill.”

“You said Broken Head. Is that correct?”

This little exercise does improve your diction as you try to pronounce the name of your home town ever clearer, but the robot won’t have it.

The BDT alerted Australia Post to the problem with the cloth-eared android two weeks ago. This would be due to a faulty voice recognition system, said a spokeswoman who promised to report it. It still gave us a broken head when we tried it again yesterday.

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