Reserve Bank Board
The role, responsibilities and composition of the Reserve Bank Board are laid down in the Reserve Bank Act 1959. Over and above the legislated requirements and in recognition of their responsibility for maintaining a reputation for integrity and propriety on the part of the Board and the Reserve Bank, members have adopted a Code of Conduct.
Role of the Reserve Bank Board
The ‘mandate’ or ‘charter’ of the Reserve Bank Board is contained in section 10(2) of the Reserve Bank Act:
...the Reserve Bank Board has power to determine the policy of the Bank in relation to any matter, other than its payments system policy, and to take such action as is necessary to ensure that effect is given by the Bank to the policy so determined.
It is the duty of the Reserve Bank Board, within the limits of its powers, to ensure that the monetary and banking policy of the Bank is directed to the greatest advantage of the people of Australia and that the powers of the Bank under this Act and any other Act, other than the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 and the Payment Systems and Netting Act 1998, are exercised in such a manner as, in the opinion of the Reserve Bank Board, will best contribute to:
- the stability of the currency of Australia;
- the maintenance of full employment in Australia; and
- the economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia.
The main focus of discussions at the Reserve Bank Board's meetings each month is on monetary policy. This discussion occurs against the background of papers prepared by Reserve Bank staff about developments in the domestic and foreign economies, and in financial markets. These papers are supplemented by staff presentations at each Board meeting.
The relationship of the Reserve Bank Board with the Government is set out in section 11 of the Reserve Bank Act. Thus, the ‘Government is to be informed ... from time to time, of the Bank's monetary and banking policy’. In practice this is done in the regular, generally monthly meetings which the Governor and Deputy Governor have with the Treasurer, shortly after each meeting of the Reserve Bank Board.
The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 specifies that the Governor must prepare an annual report by 15 October, for presentation to the Treasurer and tabling in the Parliament.
The Reserve Bank has an Audit Committee, which generally meets four times each year. Its membership is comprised of two non-executive members of the Reserve Bank Board, John Akehurst (Chair) and Kathryn Fagg, and Sandra Birkensleigh and Michael Coleman, both of whom are company directors and former senior audit partners with extensive experience in the financial sector. The Reserve Bank Board has a Remuneration Committee, which meets at least twice each year. Its membership is drawn from the non-executive members of the Board.
In addition to the Reserve Bank Board, the Reserve Bank has another board, the Payments System Board, which is responsible for the Reserve Bank's payments system policy.
Meetings of the Reserve Bank Board
The Reserve Bank Board meets eleven times each year, on the first Tuesday of each month, except January. Most meetings are held at the Head Office in Sydney. A meeting is held in Melbourne at least every second year. In addition, a meeting is held in another Australian city each year.
Five members form a quorum for a meeting of the Reserve Bank Board, which must be chaired by the Governor or, in his absence, the Deputy Governor. The Reserve Bank Act provides for decisions to be reached by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting, with the Chair having a casting vote, if necessary, in addition to a deliberative vote. Minutes of the monetary policy meetings of the Board are published two weeks after each meeting. The Governor and Deputy Governor do not participate in deliberations of the Board related to the terms and conditions of their employment. Meetings are held in the Boardroom of the Reserve Bank's Head Office in Sydney or a similar facility in one of the Bank's State Offices when meetings are held interstate (a secure location is used in Australian cities where the Bank is not represented). Meetings commence at 9.00 am and generally run for around three and half hours, and conclude with a light lunch to which a guest is usually invited. Meetings held interstate are followed by a dinner with the local community.
Members of the Reserve Bank Board
The Reserve Bank Board comprises nine members: three ex officio members – the Governor (who is Chair), the Deputy Governor (who is Deputy Chair) and the Secretary to the Treasury – and six non-executive members, who are appointed by the Treasurer. The Governor and Deputy Governor are appointed for terms of up to seven years, and are eligible for reappointment. The non-executive members are appointed for terms of up to five years. There is no limit on the number of terms a member may serve. A list of previous and current members of the Reserve Bank Board is also published on this website.
In terms of section 17(1) of the Reserve Bank Act, members of the Board may not be a director, officer or employee of an authorised deposit-taking institution for the purposes of the Banking Act 1959.
The current members of the Reserve Bank Board are:
Chair: Philip Lowe
Governor since 18 September 2016
Present term ends 17 September 2023
Deputy Chair: Guy Debelle
Deputy Governor since 18 September 2016
Present term ends 17 September 2021
Member since 31 August 2007
Present term ends 30 August 2017
Chair – Reserve Bank Board Audit Committee
Chairman – National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases
Chairman – Transform Exploration Pty Ltd
Director – CSL Limited
Director – Origin Energy Limited
Member since 7 May 2013
Present term ends 6 May 2018
Member – Reserve Bank Board Audit Committee
Chair – Breast Cancer Network Australia
Chair – Melbourne Recital Centre
President – Chief Executive Women
Director – Boral Limited
Director – Djerriwarrh Investments Limited
Director – Incitec Pivot Limited
Member since 15 January 2015
Secretary to the Treasury
Chair – Advisory Board of the Australian Office of Financial Management
Chair – Global Infrastructure Hub
Ex Officio Member – Board of Taxation
Member – Council of Financial Regulators
Member – Sir Roland Wilson Foundation
Member – Trans-Tasman Council on Banking Supervision
Member since 31 July 2016
Present term ends 30 July 2021
Member – Reserve Bank Board Remuneration Committee
Senior Advisor – Deloitte Access Economics Pty Ltd
Director – Ridley College Limited
Allan Moss AO
Member since 2 December 2015
Present term ends 1 December 2020
Member – Reserve Bank Board Remuneration Committee
Principal – Allan Moss Investments Pty Ltd
Adviser – Anchorage Capital Partners
Advisory Board Member – Eight Investment Partners Pty Ltd
Advisory Board Member – Evans & Partners
Heather Ridout AO
Member since 14 February 2012
Present term ends 13 February 2017
Chair – AustralianSuper Pty Ltd
Director – Australian Chamber Orchestra
Director – Australian Securities Exchange Limited
Director – Image Networks Holdings Pty Ltd
Director – Note Printing Australia Limited
Director – Sims Metal Management Limited
Member since 30 March 2011
Present term ends 29 March 2021
Chair – Reserve Bank Board Remuneration Committee
Managing Director – EnergyAustralia
Member – Business Council of Australia
Member – Chief Executive Women