The imminent and permanent closure of the Adelong Post Office which threatened the town with yet another loss of a vital service has been reversed, with the revelation of a successful proposal to Australia Post by a local community organisation which will see the Post Office’s ownership and operations fall into the community’s hands from July 1.
The forthcoming closure of the heritage-listed Post Office was regarded by many as a disaster for the town and would have forced residents to travel to Tumut for postal services, with the detrimental flow-on effect driving a further nail into the small town’s economy.
The present owner has had the business on the market for some five years and has been unsuccessful in attracting any interested parties to purchase it. With the threat of its impending closure looming large, a committee of concerned residents was formed to ascertain the situation and strategise a salvage plan.
The Adelong Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank came to the community’s rescue with the Bank Board instigating the ‘save the Post Office campaign’, promising funding to make the new venture happen once a viable proposition was achieved.
The Bank’s manager, Peter Watson, informed that the Adelong Community Incorporated Enterprises Inc, which also oversees the operations of the op-shop and arts and crafts store, will be responsible for the Post Office’s continued operations.
“Australia Post proved very supportive of a post office being owned and operated by a not for profit, community organisation,” said Mr Watson. “They provided details of similar situations in other NSW country towns and committee members travelled to these places to see how the acquisitions were achieved.”
A full examination of costing to purchase and also run the Adelong Post Office business was carried out and based on budgets and details from the Australia Post Office, it was considered feasible to operate the business on a financially viable basis.
“The owner of the building was approached and he too was very supportive of the community buy-out and he offered a very attractive lease arrangement with a favourable financial package,” Mr Watson said. “The owner’s assistance was the trigger which proved the financial viability of the proposal.”
The initial lease block will be five years with an option to buy the premises, which also contains a three bedroom house, in the first two years of operation. Mr Watson envisaged vast improvements could be made to the store layout and the services that offers could be expanded, should it become feasible to buy the building outright.
While staffing has not yet been finalised with positions still to be advertised, it is proposed that permanent qualified people will be employed to manage the daily operations of the Post Office with occasional assistance from the volunteer committee.
Mr Watson is pleased the Community Bank has once again provided the fulcrum needed to make the venture become a reality, believing the consequences of inaction a cost too great for the town of Adelong to bear.
“With the support of a strong volunteer committee, Australia Post, the existing business owner and the owner of the building, a definite viable operation was considered to have been achieved for the greater benefit of the town,” Mr Watson said.
With several alterations planned in the near future such as the required replacement of post office boxes and disabled access, in addition to a much-needed lick of paint to refresh its walls, it will be business as usual for the historic building as it continues to dutifully serve the postal needs of the Adelong community, just as it has done for more than a century.