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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 12918

Mr CIOBO (Moncrieff) (09:31): by leave—I am pleased to rise to associate myself with the remarks made by the Chair of the Standing Committee on Economics with respect to the most recent inquiry that the committee undertook, on monetary policy settings, with the Governor of the Reserve Bank and others. Can I say at the outset how much committee members appreciate the support of the secretariat of the Economics Committee. They have, on numerous instances now, proven to be of great value and assistance to the committee and I am very grateful to them for that.

Specifically with regard to monetary policy settings, it is clear to coalition members of the committee that we continue to be well served by the Reserve Bank, although the same cannot be said with respect to the fiscal policy settings of the current government. That notwithstanding, it does provide an important opportunity for coalition members to investigate and scrutinise decisions taken when it comes to monetary policy settings. Certainly, the level of angst in the community over monetary policy settings and, in particular, the desire for there to be a decrease or a loosening of monetary policy are ever pervasive, especially in light of the fact that Australia seems to be, in terms of economic growth, trending downward at a time when many Australians are feeling sharply increasing cost-of-living pressures.

Of course, one of the major areas of focus that is also touched upon in this report had to do with the Reserve Bank subsidiaries Note Printing Australia and Securency. I am very mindful that my good friend the member for Casey has made supplementary comments to the report of the committee, and those supplementary comments outline in great detail the chronology with respect to both events that took place within Securency and with Note Printing Australia, especially in regard to the use of agents, and decisions that were taken by RBA management—and, in particular, former deputy governor Mr Ric Battellino—with respect to Securency and Note Printing Australia.

The committee report as a whole reflects the views of coalition members. As I said, there are supplementary comments which I would like to acknowledge as well.