A life of constant change in postal service

Important message: Robert Chizzoniti has been awarded the OAM for his service to small business operators in the postal industry. Picture: John Veage
Important message: Robert Chizzoniti has been awarded the OAM for his service to small business operators in the postal industry. Picture: John Veage

Robert Chizzoniti has an important message to deliver for anyone wanting a quiet life - don't work in a post office.

Kogarah Bay resident Mr Chizzoniti has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to small business operators in the postal industry.

Mr Chizzoniti, 70, is a Life Member of the Post Office Agents Association Limited (POAAL). The group represents the interests of small post offices, one of the largest franchises in Australia with 2,800 members plus 5,000 contractors.

He is a member, Australia Post National Health and Safety Committee, and POAAL representative on the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia.

Mr Chizzoniti has seen the postal service evolve from small shop-front concerns to a major logistics operation.

He started his career in a small general store with a Post Office in what was then country NSW at Badgerys Creek.

Now Badgerys Creek is becoming an international airport, a development that is in step with the changing logistics of Australian post.

"The postal industry has gone through radical change and we don't know what the future holds, Mr Chizzoniti said.

"We started with stamps and parcels," he said. "Now we do land titles, passports and represent 68 banks and credit unions. We have to decide, do we become a logistics company with a Post Office on the side or a Post Office with a logistics company on the side," he said.

"We deliver mail by plane, ferries and boats. We can drive 100kms through the desert, deliver it and then drive back 100kms. It's a huge logistics operation."

THE COVID pandemic has added to the challenge. Mr Chizzoniti was a POAAL representative negotiating with the Federal Government to get the postal service gazetted as an essential service. He was on an Australia Post and POOAL working party drafting workplace COVID safety practices.

"I tell people don't get into the industry if you think it is going to stagnate. There's nothing but change coming," he said.