West Dubbo postie ban still on

MORE than three months since Australia Post suspended deliveries to parts of West Dubbo, residents are still having to collect mail from their local post office.

The organisation is refusing to allow posties back into the area while their safety cannot be guaranteed.

It follows a series of attacks on several posties by groups of children as young as five who spat at and threw rocks and bottles at them.

Some posties returned to the mail delivery centre with bruises the size of cricket balls on their backs.

Parkes MP Mark Coulton told the Daily Liberal yesterday while he felt for the posties affected he was disappointed that months down the track, Australia Post had not resumed mail deliveries.

"It's a stalemate, no doubt about it," he said.

"I'll meet with the police and local council again this week and that will obviously be one of the matters we'll be discussing.

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"However I do also think Australia Post has some responsibility here. There have been several suggestions put forward that are worth pursuing but that hasn't happened."

Mr Coulton said Australia Post should reconsider its stance given that he understood Housing NSW was in the process of shifting some of the most troublesome residents in the neighbourhood out.

"My wife Robyn and I walked around the neighbourhood and there are certainly a few troublemakers but there are also quite a few elderly and disabled people who have trouble collecting their mail from the post office."

In April Australia Post wrote to some West Dubbo residents warning their mail deliveries could be suspended if there was a repeat of an incident in which rocks were thrown at a postie in O'Donnell Street.

The organisation made good on the threat in July after a group of children surrounded a female postie in the same street, "manhandling" her motorcycle and allegedly stealing a parcel.

The following morning residents of 200 households in eight streets around O'Donnell Street were sent another official letter informing them mail deliveries had ceased.

MORE: Postie attacked, Australia Post threatens to end deliveries | April

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A crisis meeting organised by Parkes MP Mark Coulton a couple of weeks later brought together about 50 West Dubbo residents and representatives from Australia Post and police to try to come up with a way to reinstate the deliveries.

Australia Post central west mail operations manager Peter King heard suggestions from the public including installing security cameras on posties' bikes, police escorts for posties and changing to early-morning deliveries.

The withdrawal of mail deliveries, which Australia Post said was a nationwide first, attracted nationwide attention when a crew from Channel Seven's Today Tonight travelled to Dubbo to report on the issue.

The following month Mr Coulton and Dubbo MP Troy Grant were criticised for what some local residents labelled a "publicity stunt" in which they hand-delivered letters to affected households in a bid to demonstrate to Australia Post it was time to resume mail services to the area.

A further blow for the already-inconvenienced residents came in late August when a parcel contractor making deliveries in his Australia Post-branded van was surrounded by rock-throwing youths and it was decided that parcels would also need to be collected from the post office, along with regular mail.

With the mail deliveries still in limbo in late August, a meeting between Dubbo City Council and high-level Australia Post executives took place in Dubbo where a fresh proposal was made involving the possible set-up of a community cluster box that would allow residents to access mail with a key or code.

Dubbo mayor Councillor Dickerson dismissed the idea, saying he was reluctant to use $20,000 ratepayers' money for the upfront cost of the service, that it would become a target for people engaged in antisocial behaviour so "would need to be made of titanium", and that it made little difference for those who were elderly and immobile because leaving their yard was as much an issue to go up the road as it was to visit the post office.

Yesterday an Australia Post spokesperson reiterated to the Daily Liberal the organisation had no plans for posties to resume their service in the immediate future.

"We are still working closely with local authorities (council and police) but at this stage we have been unable to come up with a suitable solution to reinstate mail delviery services while the safety of posties cannot be guaranteed," the spokesperson said.

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