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 established a program to upgrade its existing banknote infrastructure. The purpose of the program is to increase banknote storage and processing capacity, and to introduce new technologies and systems to improve banknote logistics processes. The program includes the construction of the National Banknote Site at the Reserve Bank's existing Craigieburn site. Construction of the new two-storey building began in June 2015 and all systems are in place for the National Banknote Site to be fully operational with the last phase, which involves undertaking distribution with cash-in-transit companies, anticipated to commence mid year.

The Reserve Bank has established quality standards for banknotes in circulation. Banknotes which are identified by banks, other authorised deposit-taking institutions and cash centre operators when they are no longer fit for circulation are returned to the National Note Processing and Distribution Centre (NNPDC).

From time to time, the Reserve Bank also arranges for the return of circulating banknotes to the NNPDC. 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 for polymer recycling; authentic fit banknotes are reissued to commercial banks.

At the end of June 2018, there were 1.6 billion banknotes worth $75.6 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 68 per cent of the number of banknotes in circulation.

Circulation Statistics, as at end June 2018
  Value Number
Banknotes on issue $m % (millions) %
$5 1,051 1 210 13
$10 1,330 2 133 9
$20 3,263 4 163 10
$50 35,516 47 710 46
$100 34,406 46 344 22
Total banknotes 75,565 100 1,561 100
Australian Banknote Production, as at end June 2018
Year Number (millions) Year Number (millions)
2002/03 113 2009/10 170
2003/04 78 2010/11 148
2004/05 160 2011/12 129
2005/06 220 2012/13 197
2006/07 245 2013/14 30
2007/08 288 2014/15 166
2008/09 275 2015/16 129
2016/17 346 2017/18 227

*Due to rounding totals may not add up.