Melbourne local councils are chopping down trees and removing vegetation on footpaths to make way for Australia Post’s new emissions-reducing electric vehicles and the irony is simply too much for me at this time of year.
Merri-bek, Darebin and Stonnington councils have felled trees and removed branches along footpaths so posties can roll down in their brand-new electric trikes, which Australia Post announced in 2021 would replace the old motorbikes. 3000 are being used around the country, 500 of those in Vic so far.
The bikes have been used by Australia Post since the 70s but will be phased out over the next three years.
Australia Post said the electric trikes were helping the organisation reach its emissions reductions target of a 15 per cent drop by 2025, as well as improving postie safety.
The e-trikes were unveiled in 2019 and Australia Post announced the motorbike phase-out one year after a postie died when they were hit by a driver in a 4WD.
The e-trikes also have the capacity for more than 100 small parcels and up to 1200 letters — three times more than the old motorbikes — which is necessary because everyone’s addicted to online shopping, apparently.
An Australia Post spokesperson said the organisation had not asked councils to cut down trees but did request clearing of vegetation on footpaths.
“It’s important we have clear access to properties so we can keep delivering our customers’ letters and parcels efficiently and ensure a safe working environment for our team members,” the spokesperson said.
Australia Post has also sent letters to residents with low or large trees on their property telling them to remove the low-hanging branches or their post will literally stop coming.
“Australia Post has changed delivery mode and now are using electric delivery mode due to the dimensions,” a letter to one Coburg resident said, as reported by The Age.
“I have a duty of care to my staff that their health and safety is not jeopardised whilst in the process of delivering mail. The overhanging branches and bushes on your property are an immediate risk to your postie as she/he rides past.”
“We would expect you to attend to this matter by 30/12/2022. Failure to do so may result in your mail being held for collection.”
But residents have complained to council over the lost trees and said they want more trees, not fewer. One Merri-bek resident also told The Age cutting down trees was pretty much the exact opposite of what councils should be doing.
“I’m a landscape architect and we are doing everything we can to get as much vegetation on streets as possible for obvious reasons, to tackle climate change and for amenity.”
Trees are not only suckers of our filthy carbon emissions but they provide much needed shade in cities. Studies have shown suburbs with fewer or smaller tree canopies can be as much as 10ºC hotter in summer. We definitely don’t need that.