Australia counts cost of funny money

9 May 19

Red-faced officials at Australia’s central bank will be holding their heads down under after spelling out a glitch in the country’s monetary policy.

The Reserve Bank has taken full responsibility for a spelling mistake on 46 million new Australian $50 notes circulated with a typo ­– in the word “responsibility”.

The funny money –  a “new and improved” yellow $50 (US$35), the country’s most widely circulated banknote – was released last October.

It includes an error in excerpts of the first speech to parliament of Edith Cowan, Australia’s first female member of parliament who is featured on the note, which reads: “It is a great responsibilty [sic] to be the only woman here …”

The RBA does not plan to pull the notes worth $2.3bn in total from circulation, and staff told journalists that the bank was aware of the spelling error, which will be corrected “at the next print run”.

A spokeswoman told CNN in a statement: “These banknotes are legal tender and can continue to be used as normal. It does not affect their validity and functionality in any way.

“We have reviewed our processes to remove the likelihood of such an error occurring in the future.”

In its latest annual report the bank said its note-printing subsidiary delivered 227 million Australian banknotes in 2017–18, including about 184 million new $50 notes.

About 400 million of the new notes were printed overall, and 46 million of them are currently in circulation.

The note was specially designed to incorporate extra security features such as a holograph to deter counterfeiting, and includes a tactile feature of four raised bumps for the visually impaired.

Australia was the first country in the world to use polymer banknotes and switched over completely to this form of note in 1996.

  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

Did you enjoy this article?

Related articles

Have your say

CIPFA latest

Related jobs