Lesley and James Newby live just outside of Charleville, QLD.
With a population of just 3,500; Charleville is a true-blue Aussie town. Temperatures often soar well over 40 degrees, which makes it tough for the residents – most of whom work outdoors on properties in the area.
Lesley and James are all too accustomed with the heat: twice a week, they make a 500km round journey to the local residents of Charleville delivering their mail. No doubt their car air-conditioning can often feel like a godsend on those 41 degree days.
For the last 18 years, the Newby’s have worked for Australia Post, delivering the mail. They’re just like your neighbourhood postie – except instead of a bike, they have a truck; and instead of a neighbourhood, they have a region that reaches hundreds of thousands of kilometres wide.
Living on acreage just out of town, the Newby’s embark on their 500+ km journey twice a week, acting as a lifeline between the people of Charleville and the outside world. From letters, to online purchases, to car parts, the Newby’s deliver whatever is needed to keep their isolated neighbours’ properties running.
Business has been extra busy of late: outraged residents saw their (only) local Target close down recently, taking with it access to all the basic items they now have to shop for online.
“There’s a lot of freight [mail] at the moment,” says Lesley. “There are limited stores out here – they’ve closed our grocery store, we had Crazy Clarks but they’ve closed that, and we had Target – which was our only clothing store – and that shut down too. Nothing has replaced it.”
But despite their crucial role in the community, Lesley and James’s contract with Australia Post came under threat this year when they were refused finance for a new vehicle.
After two credit defaults with another lender – a confusion, says Lesley – the pair were denied finance on a four-wheel drive for their newly acquired postal contract. With plenty of competition in the area vying for the route, they knew they needed to secure a truck, fast.
“We were actually referred from the broker at the car yard,” says Lesley, “so we rang them up, they sent the email through, we filled it in and they approved it all.”
Calling the process ‘quick and easy’, Lesley was pleasantly surprised when the GoGetta team went so far as to call the credit company their apparent defaults were held with, to sort out their mistaken bad debt history and have it cleared.
“He helped me ring them up, and they sent through the information to say – yes, these were paid for.”
With the finance secured, Lesley and James were able to purchase a new truck and get back to business. Mindful to not opt for anything that would have a hefty depreciation value (Australia Post caps the tax return on car depreciation), the pair opted for a second hand Mahindra 4WD to replace their old Toyota. A few months on, they are still thrilled with their purchase.
Each truck needs to be fitted out with specific equipment to deal with the long journeys. Water, food, and long-distance radios are a must, as well as ‘plenty of spare tyres!’ laughs Lesley. Clearly, more than the standard one spare we city folk keep!
Lesley notes that, due to the tough conditions out west, trucks generally only last around 5 years before being passed onto the kids to use. “I have four trucks to replace in the next year,” says Lesley, “and I will be looking at getting four Mahindra’s through GoGetta for sure.”
Proving that hard work always pays off in the end, Lesley and James are forging ahead with another five year contract with Australia Post. And, just like they’ve done for almost two decades now, they’ll keep their community connected where no one else can.