Services Minister Tom Stephens has protested to the Federal Government over new Australia Post charges for publications that will substantially increase delivery costs in country areas.
Mr Stephens has written to the Federal Minister for Communications, Senator Bob Collins, calling for the new charges to be reviewed and replaced with rates independent of distance.
"The new distance-based Print Post rates, due to come into effect next year, would discriminate against country residents - particularly in smaller-population States like Western Australia," he said.
"There is widespread concern in WA about these new charges, and I believe it is unreasonable to impose additional costs on people who are already significantly disadvantaged because of their geographic isolation."
Mr Stephens said country people, especially those in remote areas, relied on postal services for the delivery of a wide variety of magazines which city people took for granted as being available from their local newsagent.
Since most magazines were published in Sydney or Melbourne, the proposed new charges would substantially increase the cost of delivery to country subscribers.
"For example, the cost of delivering a typical magazine weighing 150g to an interstate country address will rise by 57 cents to $1.09, an increase of 110 per cent," Mr Stephens said.
"As well as the additional cost, distance-related postage rates are out of step with Australia Post's objective of improving postal services for all Australians."