Australia: a currency pioneer

Making our money last is something we’d all like to do. But the Reserve Bank of Australia has taken that notion literally.

Anyone who’s had a US Dollar or a British Pound note in their pocket will know the drawbacks of paper currency. The limp, tattered paper bills have less than half of the shelf life of our polymer notes, not to mention the cocktail of unsavoury residues typically found on older bills. One can’t help but wonder why fewer than ten countries have fully adopted polymer banknotes.

The RBA pioneered the more durable and secure alternative to the standard paper banknotes due to the increasing rate of forgeries in the late 1960s. A world first, polymer notes were officially issued for Australia’s bicentennial year in 1988.

Polypropylene polymer notes that are harder to tear and burn, more resistant to soil, easier to machine process, while also being shreddable and recyclable to boot. More importantly, the next time you accidentally leave that last wad of cash in your pants pocket when you do your laundry, you can rest assured that your waterproof banknotes will live on.

Having reinvented our currency, Australia continues to take the lead and implement new technologies with our dollar. With new dollar bill designs on the cards, the RBA has confirmed plans to add a tactile feature to each banknote, allowing the vision impaired to differentiate banknotes of different values by touch.

As a nation with pioneering currency, we think it’s time to commemorate the incredible work of another pioneer: Professor Fred Hollows. The introduction of tactile notes to assist the vision impaired community is a perfect time to recognise a true champion of vision.

In a nod to his early five dollar campaigns, nothing could be more fitting than honouring Fred on our five dollar note.

Show your support by signing our petition here.

We can’t wait for the day when we can proudly say, “It only takes five Freds to save someone’s sight.”
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