Distribution

Sealed stacks of the new $5 banknotes.

The Reserve Bank manages the issuance and distribution of banknotes to commercial banks. Commercial banks purchase banknotes directly from the Reserve Bank. Those banknotes are transported and stored by the banks at approved cash centres located throughout Australia. The Reserve Bank also maintains a contingency holding of banknotes to meet seasonal, and other, fluctuations in demand.

To prepare for the new banknote series, the Reserve Bank completed a program to upgrade its existing banknote infrastructure. The purpose of the program was to increase banknote storage and processing capacity, and to introduce new technologies and systems to improve banknote logistics processes. The program included the construction of the National Banknote Site (NBS) at the Reserve Bank's existing Craigieburn site and the installation of a range of automation equipment found in modern warehouses to support operational safety, security and efficiency. The NBS has been in full operation since August 2018, storing, processing and distributing banknotes.

The Reserve Bank has established quality standards for banknotes in circulation. Banknotes are returned to the NBS when they are identified as no longer fit for circulation by banks, other authorised deposit-taking institutions and cash centre operators. These unfit banknotes are shredded at the NBS for polymer recycling.

From time to time, the Reserve Bank also arranges for the return of circulating banknotes to the NBS. These banknotes are processed through high-speed automated machines to check for quality and authenticity. Banknotes that are not fit for further circulation are shredded; authentic fit banknotes are reissued to commercial banks.

At the end of June 2019, there were 1.6 billion banknotes worth $80.0 billion on issue in Australia. The $50 and $100 banknotes continue to account for the majority of banknotes on issue, with a combined share of 93 per cent of the value and 69 per cent of the number of banknotes in circulation.

Circulation Statistics, as at end June 2019
  Value Number
Banknotes on issue $m % (millions) %
$5 1,003 1 201 12
$10 1,340 2 134 8
$20 3,337 4 167 10
$50 38,201 48 764 47
$100 36,144 45 361 22
Total banknotes 80,024 100 1,627 100
Australian Banknote Production, as at end June 2019
Year Number (millions) Year Number (millions)
2002/03 113 2003/04 78
2004/05 160 2005/06 220
2006/07 245 2007/08 288
2008/09 275 2009/10 170
2010/11 148 2011/12 129
2012/13 197 2013/14 30
2014/15 166 2015/16 129
2016/17 346 2017/18 227
2018/19 428    

*Due to rounding totals may not add up.