The Postal Industry Ombudsman (PIO), which will investigate and act on complaints about Australia Post and registered private postal operators, has opened in Sydney.

The office was launched by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, who said in a statement that the Federal Government decided that the PIO was best established as a separate office within the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

“A dedicated office with the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office brings the same benefits as a high profile and independent body like the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, in an efficient manner,” she said.

“There is also significant benefit in drawing on the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s existing expertise in dealing with complaints about postal services.”

The PIO scheme, which will become operational later in 2006, will be recouped by Australia Post and the private service providers who choose to register.

Non-registered providers will have their complaints handled by the relevant state’s Office of Fair Trading.