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Review of Banknote Distribution Arrangements: Issues Paper

Summary:
The Reserve Bank has released an Issues Paper as the first stage in its Review of Banknote Distribution Arrangements. The Bank is seeking views from interested parties on what changes might be required to ensure that banknote distribution is effective, efficient, sustainable and resilient – both now and into the future. Cash use in Australia is changing. Despite the value of currency in circulation continuing to increase, physical cash is being used less as a means of payment. This trend has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic as people have turned even more to electronic and online payment methods. Nonetheless, cash is expected to remain an important means of payment into the future,

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The Reserve Bank has released an Issues Paper as the first stage in its Review of Banknote Distribution Arrangements. The Bank is seeking views from interested parties on what changes might be required to ensure that banknote distribution is effective, efficient, sustainable and resilient – both now and into the future.

Cash use in Australia is changing. Despite the value of currency in circulation continuing to increase, physical cash is being used less as a means of payment. This trend has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic as people have turned even more to electronic and online payment methods. Nonetheless, cash is expected to remain an important means of payment into the future, particularly as some parts of the community rely heavily on cash in their daily lives.

Cash is also important as a back-up means of payment for electronic payment methods, and as a store of wealth. This applies on a day-to-day basis but becomes particularly important in times of economic or financial uncertainty. For now, the Australian public has good access to cash.

The key elements of Australia's banknote distribution system have been in place since 2001. They were established at a time when cash was the most commonly used retail payment method and have worked well to ensure access to cash for both businesses and consumers. The declining use of cash for retail payments has, however, placed pressure on the current cash distribution system.

Assistant Governor (Business Services) Michelle McPhee said, ‘We are committed to meeting public demand for banknotes so that cash continues to be available to those who want to use it. We place a high priority on the community continuing to have good access to cash withdrawal and deposit services. Having a banknote distribution system that is sustainable in an environment of declining transactional cash use is critical to this goal.’

Submissions close on Friday 21 January 2022.

Reserve Bank Australia
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) came into being on 14 January 1960 as Australia's central bank and banknote issuing authority, when the Reserve Bank Act 1959 removed the central banking functions from the Commonwealth Bank. The bank has the responsibility of providing services to the Government of Australia in addition to also providing services to other central banks and official institutions. It currently consists of the Payments System Board, which governs the payments system policy of the bank, and the Reserve Bank Board, which governs all other monetary and banking policies of the bank.

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