Our sites range from Post Offices, to mail processing sites and warehouses, to offices and call centres.
Of our total portfolio of owned properties, 73 are classified as heritage properties and are included in the Commonwealth Heritage List. These buildings date from the Colonial era, through post-Federation to post-WWII structures.
All of these buildings have social worth in heritage terms, as they are valued by their local communities for the services they have provided in the past, as well as for their appearance and architectural qualities.
Changing technologies have resulted in changes to the layout and design of our buildings. In the late 1800s the introduction of telegraph offices led to extensions and alterations to many buildings. Similarly, changes in mail handling in the 1900s led to alterations to post offices and construction of new dedicated mail distribution facilities. More recently, we have opened shops in major shopping centres and constructed new large-format retail stores.
As a result of these trends many of our heritage properties are no longer suitable for use for postal services but are let out on commercial terms to external businesses and organisations.
To care for our heritage properties we have developed our Australia Post Heritage Strategy (4.59mb). In 2010, following a comprehensive assessment, the Chairman of the Australian Heritage council congratulated us on our exemplary management of the extensive heritage assets, and stated that Australia Post had established a benchmark in identifying these heritage assets.
In the 5 years to June 2013, we will invest $10 million nationally on our heritage portfolio, to provide specialist painting, maintenance and preservation works. Many of these buildings are adapted for reuse for the benefit of the local community.
In 2004, the Commonwealth government introduced a new heritage management regime following amendments to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and changes to the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000. View EPBC overview (226kb)
The new legislation established the Commonwealth Heritage List and we nominated 73 of our buildings to be included on the list.
Our Heritage Strategy, also established under the Act, integrates the management of owned heritage properties into our overall property planning and management framework, and ensures the protection and conservation of those properties. This strategy covers all aspects of heritage property management, including planning for future works, property upgrades and development, leasing, property divestment and staff training.
Heritage property protection
Australia Post manages its property portfolio according to customer and business needs. We need to respond to changing customer demands, continue to maintain our Community Service Obligations, and act commercially and this requires flexibility. It's one of the main reasons our portfolio consists of owned, leased and let sites.
When a Heritage-listed property is to be sold, we engage external specialist heritage architects to establish a comprehensive Heritage Management Plan for the building. Ongoing adherence to this plan is included as a condition of sale (referenced in the contract of sale) and is enforceable by law. Finally, any such proposed sales must be approved by the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, People and Communities.