Bizarrely, the government actually owns a company on the Secret Rich List as Australia Post acquired the “grandfathered” company Star Track. Star Track has an exemption from financial reporting.
|Top 200 Rich List (2020)||No. of Dark Companies: ||Political Donations since FY 1998-99|
|Rank: 155||Star Track Express Pty Limited||Labor Party: N/A|
|Wealth: $687m||Star Track Express Investments Pty Limited||Coalition: N/A|
|Wealth (2019): $639m||Independent: N/A|
|YoY wealth change: 5.9%||Total: N/A|
Rich Lister Greg Poche founded Star Track in 1974 with the company initially called Multi Group Distribution Services before being renamed Star Track in 2001. It is one of 1,119 companies that benefit from the “grandfathering” exemption despite multiple changes in ownership.
In 2003, Poche sold Star Track to Australia Post and Qantas for $750 million. That’s how a government corporation ended up on the Secret Rich List. Poche decided to sell the company to government-related entities rather than floating it on the sharemarket. That would also prevent it from falling into competitors’ hands in a takeover.
Poche and his wife since moved into philanthropy, contributing over $100 million to causes including melanoma research and Indigenous health centres.
Australia Post acquired the remaining 50% stake of Star Track, which was held by Qantas, in 2012 for $400 million. The deal included divesting their 50% stake in Australian Air Express to Qantas.
Australia Post is a Commonwealth corporation and is wholly owned by the Australian Government, with the Minister for Finance and Minister for Communications acting as shareholders.
According to ATO tax transparency data, the Australian Postal Corporation made $39.8 billion in revenue between the 2013-14 and 2018-19 financial years. During this period, taxable income was $888 million, and tax payable was $169.2 million, equating to an effective tax rate of 19%. The Australian Postal Corporation did not pay any tax during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 financial years despite making $12.8 billion in revenue between both years and having a taxable income of $133.8 million in 2015-16.
Significantly, Australia’s publicly owned postal service continues to benefit from the grandfathering exemption through its Star Track subsidiary.