Australia Post raised postage rates Jan. 4 and also introduced a two-tier system for letter mail.
Before the rate change, the basic domestic postage rate was 70¢. The new rate of $1 is not only 30¢ more, it also represents potentially slower mail delivery.
In announcing the Jan. 4 rate change, Australia Post said: “All Australians now have a choice of Priority and Regular letter services for sending their letters within Australia, in line with what has been available to business customers since June 2014.”
The priority letter service offers delivery within one to four business days depending on the destination, according to Australia Post. Regular mail service can take up to two business days longer.
For a letter to be sent by what Australia Post calls priority mail, a 50¢ label will need to be purchased from a post office or the Australia Post online shop and affixed to the envelope next to the stamp.
Australia Post issued three $1 Wildflower stamps Dec. 14, 2015, to meet the new $1 rate. The stamps depict a subspecies of rose coneflower (Isopogon formosus subsp. Dasylepis), spiny mirbella (Mirbelia spinosa) and blue devil (Eryngium pinnatifidum), respectively.
In addition, a $2 stamp was issued at the same time to pay the new rate for large envelopes, previously $1.40. This Wildflower stamp shows golden rainbow (Drosera microphylla).
Australia Post explained the reasons behind the postage rate increases on its website: “The way Australians communicate is changing. With the shift to digital communications, you’re not sending as many letters as you used to. So we’re changing too.
“It’s about making sure we have a sustainable Post Office network and letters service, so we can continue to grow in the areas you need us most - like delivering parcels and trusted services.”
Australia Post also said that it will “maintain the concession stamp price at 60¢, which is available to 5.7 million eligible Australians, and seasonal greeting cards will stay at 65¢,” adding that “concession and seasonal greeting mail accounts for almost half of all mail sent by consumers annually.”
Simone Sakinofsky designed the Wildflower stamps, and RA Print printed them by offset in sheets of 50 with moisture-activated gum and as self-adhesives in booklets and coils.