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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 279

(Question No. 1422)


Senator Jones asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 2 June 1994:

  With reference to the concern expressed by the United States Treasury at the ease with which the American $100 note can be forged and the fact that it is considering major design changes to combat forgery:

  (1) Do the techniques of manufacture in the Australian polymer bank note design offer counter-forgery techniques not available in any other country.

  (2) Has the Australian Mint been successful in commercial negotiations with any other foreign countries to sell the rights to this process and/or produce the notes in Australia.

  (3) Has the United States' Government been approached with a proposal to consider using Australian technology in production of their banknotes.


Senator Cook —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) One of the major advantages in polymer note technology is that it enables the incorporation of anti-counterfeiting devices not available with the traditional use of paper. The advantages of polymer notes are only available to a limited number of other countries that have had polymer notes printed by Note Printing Australia, a division of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

  (2) To date, Note Printing Australia has printed polymer currency notes (in Australia) for Indonesia, Kuwait, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Western Samoa. While the majority of these have been commemorative issues, polymer notes do circulate in Western Samoa and Papua New Guinea and, to a limited extent, in Singapore. Many other countries have expressed interest in the technology and Note Printing Australia maintains close contacts with   potential purchasers.

  (3) The Reserve Bank maintains a close and on-going relationship with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the issuer and printer respectively of US currency notes. Detailed discussions have taken place with these authorities on polymer note technology over many years. However, no formal requests have been received or proposals made for US currency note production.