Welcome to the personal website of Michael Gorey. I'm a Bundaberg-based communications professional interested in photography, reading, history, politics and travel.
There are some government services that Australians have traditionally taken for granted such as education, water, electricity and post.
Unfortunately, all four have had their troubles.
With water, for example, Victoria and South Australia failed to drought proof themselves and invested heavily in desalination plants which so far remain mothballed.
With education, Australia spends much more than other countries but has poorer results.
The ABC reported in December 2016 that a global report on educational performance showed Australian 15-year-olds were getting worse at maths, science and reading than overseas counterparts.
About half a million students from 72 countries took part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, including more than 14,000 Australian children. Australia was significantly outperformed by nine countries, ranking just below New Zealand, well below Japan and Canada, and just above the United Kingdom and Germany.
Within Australia, the ACT spends more on education than other jurisdictions and has the wealthiest families, but also has the weakest outcomes on socio-economic indicators.
Electricity has become a global basket case. The push to renewables abandoned common sense, closed coal-fired power stations before their use-by date and left consumers facing higher prices and reduce reliability.
Meanwhile, postage has slipped under the radar.
In 2015, Australia Post introduced a two-tier pricing structure. If you want something delivered quickly, you pay more. Fair enough, but it's not very egalitarian.
I've always taken postal services for granted, but this week I've had two experiences which make me question if Australia Post is capable of meeting modern requirements.
I had three small parcels arrive this week. One was addressed to a parcel locker at Kingston in Canberra. For some reason unknown to me, two items from Kogan could not be delivered to parcel lockers and needed a street address. I knew this meant I would have to collect them from the post office during business hours.
Parcel lockers are great.
They enable you to have a parcel delivered to a post office for collection after hours, using a code which is sent to your phone and email. Fantastic initiative, when it works.
Unfortunately, the last two times that I've had items addressed to a parcel locker at Kingston Post Office, I've been notified that the parcel lockers are full and I would have to collect over the counter. That's not a 24/7 service and it meant me rushing from work to be at the post office before 5pm closure.
There are 80 parcel lockers at Kingston. It so happened that on the second occasion I was waiting nearby to visit the doctor's clinic and saw a woman arrive to collect her items (pictured below). I wasn't surprised to see her have two parcels, because I've done the same before.
But I became incredulous as her collections continued to nine.
No criticism of the woman, who is obviously a prolific online shopper, but come on Australia Post ... why weren't this woman's items aggregated into two or three parcel lockers instead of nine? Why was this woman given preference for all nine of her items over my single tiny delivery?
Prior to seeing this, I asked the post office counter attendant why my item had not been delivered and she said: "It's Monday, there are lots of deliveries."
I asked why my item couldn't have been held over until Tuesday and she said "once it's scanned it can't be redirected", not even five metres to a parcel locker.
Bureaucracy. Red tape.
Today I went to collect the two street-addressed items from Kogan.
I arrived at the Kingston Post Office before closing and collected one of them. I was then told the other had been delivered 5km away to Fyshwick Post Office. No kidding.
I asked why. Apparently larger parcels get delivered to Fyshwick, no explanation given, although he added it was done by a contractor and not Australia Post. We're not talking a heavy container here; it was a small electronic item. Hmm.
This required me to drive the distance in peak-hour traffic to Fyshwick. Lucky I bought a car a few weeks ago. I arrived just before 5pm and collected my other small parcel. I asked why it had been delivered there, rather than Kingston.
"There's not enough space at Kingston," I was told.
This was a light cardboard box, about 20cm x 10cm.
Australia Post needs to become more service focused and less bureaucratic in how it deals with parcel deliveries otherwise a disruptor will smash them.