The Post Office Agents Association Limited is the membership association for the owner/operators of Licensed Post Offices and for Mail & Parcel Contractors who deliver on behalf of Australia Post. POAAL has been looking after its members since 1939.
The Post Office Agents Association Limited (POAAL) started life as the Non-Official Postmasters Association in 1939.
It was formed by a group of Non-Official Postmasters (i.e. owner/operators of post offices that were not owned and operated by the Postmaster General’s Department) who banded together to share information, to negotiate and talk with the PMG, and to improve the lot of themselves and their colleagues.
Non-Official Postmasters and Postmistresses not only operated post offices, but a large percentage of them operated as Telephone Office-Keepers – that is, they operated a manual telephone exchange and were expected to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many of these were in remote or isolated country areas.
By the time the PMG had split into Australia Post and Telecom in 1975, telephone exchanges in Australia were well on the way to becoming automatic. As a result, the number of Non-Official Postmasters and Postmistresses reduced dramatically as small post offices that were in existence mainly to supply telephone services became uneconomic to operate when automation arrived. The name of the owner/operators of non-official post offices was changed in 1985 to Post Office Agents to reflect the changed circumstances, and the fact that they were now agents of the principal, Australia Post.
The Non-Official Postmasters Association became the Post Office Agents Association Limited – a company limited by guarantee.
In early 1993, the Licensed Post Office Agreement replaced the former Post Office Agency Agreement. The LPO Agreement took almost three years of robust and successful negotiation and consultation between Australia Post and POAAL to finalise, but was a major factor in bringing the retail sector of the postal industry into modern business practices. It was a massive undertaking for POAAL, severely extending its operational and financial resources. It required a large number of volunteers from all POAAL State Committees to assist the National Negotiating Team.
Despite constant pressure and the massive resources employed by Australia Post, the POAAL team persisted in its determination to obtain a fair and equitable agreement for Post Office Agents – one which would not only be easy to understand, but be fair, flexible, and stand the test of time. A dispute resolution process was proposed by POAAL as part of the LPO Agreement, to protect Licensees’ investment. The key principles of the LPO Agreement's dispute resolution procedure were influential in the development of the ACCC's Franchising Code of Conduct.
The LPO Agreement has proved its durability, with only minor changes needed since its implementation. The Association’s good working relationship with Australia Post at both National and State levels provides regular contact and assists with a swift resolution of issues.
The Association has evolved to meet the needs of its members and the challenges of the postal industry. Its National Office is situated in Melbourne and it has committee members in all States who are dedicated and experienced contributors to POAAL and its membership.
In 2019 POAAL celebrated its 80th anniversary.