IT WILL take at least two days to send mail from Ballarat to Melbourne under new changes to be brought in by Australia Post within a fortnight.
In a move the Communications Workers Union says will force at least two jobs losses in Ballarat and 10 throughout Victoria, all outbound mail from the city will be sorted in Dandenong before it makes its way to its final destination.
Local mail that remains in the Ballarat area will still arrive on the following day, but mail to other regional areas will be processed in Melbourne and take an extra day to arrive.
The decision has angered the union, which has vowed to fight protect the rights of regional Victorians and have the decision reversed.
Under the new system, areas with postcodes 3350, 3351, 3352, 3354, 3355, 3356 and 3357 will continue to receive next day service, solely for local mail.
CWU secretary Joan Doyle said the changes showed a lack of regard for country residents, who deserved the same service as their metropolitan counterparts.
Ms Doyle said the fact Australia Post confirmed it would also increase the price of stamps to 70 cents at the end of March came as a double blow.
MAP: Where you can still get next day delivery from Ballarat postcodes. Source: Communications Workers Union.
"We think country people deserve the same service as people in the city," she said.
"We're not going to give up though, this is necessary infrastructure. We're going to keep agitating to bring back the system."
Australia Post currently sorts mail at five regional centres; Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Gippsland.
Under the proposed system, to be implemented on March 3, all regional mail sent to other cities will first have to be sorted in Melbourne, adding at least another day to the delivery.
The union says interstate mail is also expected take up to four days to be delivered, instead of two days.
Defending the changes, Australia Post spokesperson Michelle Skehan said the company would still meet its community service obligations.
"We appreciate the impact this may have on some residents in these areas," Ms Skehan said.
"However, losses in our domestic mail business have grown by almost 60 per cent to $218.4 million last financial year and, if unchecked, would significantly impact our ability to continue to deliver an efficient and cost-effective national mail service for Australian consumers and businesses."
Australia Post says it will still aim to meet its target of delivering 94 per cent of mail on time or early.