A subtle yet significant change is set to appear on Australian banknotes as Michele Bullock assumes her role as the new Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). As of Tuesday, September 19, 2023, Bullock’s signature will replace that of former governor Philip Lowe on all newly printed banknotes.
Bullock officially took over the reins from Lowe on Monday, making her the first woman and ninth person overall to head the RBA. The governor’s signature has been a feature on every Australian banknote since 1989, changing only a handful of times.
Banknotes printed from this week will bear Bullock’s signature in the bottom corner, alongside that of the Secretary to the Treasury. However, as the Reserve Bank maintains a stock of notes for release into circulation based on demand, notes featuring Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) signature will continue to circulate until exhausted.
Bullock enters her tenure following a turbulent period for the Australian economy and in the wake of an independent review into the RBA conducted earlier this year. The review recommended several reforms, including the establishment of two boards – one for managing daily operations and another for setting interest rates.
While Lowe had approved many of these changes during his seven-year tenure, Bullock and the new monetary policy board will need to implement remaining measures. The complexity of managing Australia’s economy is increasing, with growing disparities between different demographic groups and regions. The central bank faces challenges such as balancing interest earnings for older generations with mortgage affordability for highly indebted borrowers.
Despite these challenges, Ashton de Silva, associate professor of economics at RMIT University, does not anticipate a dramatic shift in how the central bank manages interest rates to curb high inflation. He noted that rate decisions are made collectively by the board, and Bullock has been present at each meeting since interest rates began rising during her tenure as deputy governor.
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