Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 1961 Special Activities

Economic Research

Results of work done in the Bank on financial statistics were made more widely available during the year by the publication of a staff paper on the Flow-of-Funds, as well as further supplements to the Bank's Statistical Bulletin.

Post-graduate research into economic and financial matters bearing on the Australian economy continued to be fostered by grants made to the universities. During 1960/61 funds were provided for continuance of work already in progress and for some new projects, including studies of the Australian wage-price mechanism since 1953 and protection as it affects the structure and growth of Australian manufacturing industry.

Rural Liaison Service

The activities of the Rural Liaison Service were widened during the year with the establishment of a rural valuation section, to conduct research into land values and to provide information to the banks on trends in land sale prices.

The Service continued to carry out its function of providing rural information for the trading banks. Publications, enquiries on specific subjects requested, and the organisation of bankers' conferences were again the principal media used. A conference at administration level was held during the year in Canberra to discuss the use of Snowy Mountains waters for irrigation. Altogether nine bankers' conferences have now been held.

The Service again co-operated with a number of other bodies, mainly universities and government departments, in the conduct of field surveys and the investigation of problems in the rural sector.

Territory of Papua and New Guinea

In collaboration with the Department of Territories, the Territory Administration and trading and savings banks represented in the Territory, the Bank is proceeding with plans for a programme of education in the fields of money, savings, banking and credit. To follow up these plans and to assist in carrying out decisions made, a special officer is now residing at Port Moresby. The Bank has also brought two Papuans to Brisbane for additional education leading from Junior Certificate to Senior Certificate standard. Afterwards, if they so desired, it would be proposed to absorb them into the Bank's staff in the Territory.

The Bank, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has aided the Department of Territories and also the Territory Administration in the programme for the flotation of local loans for the development of the Territory. The Bank's branch at Port Moresby, which was opened in August, 1960, has assisted in these operations by establishing and managing an Inscribed Stock Registry on behalf of the Territory Administration.

Automation in Banking

Throughout the year, the Bank continued to study developments in automatic cheque handling techniques, and close liaison was maintained with overseas institutions experienced in this field. In addition, through its representation on inter-bank technical committees, the Bank participated in local and overseas tests of magnetic ink printing by Australian cheque printers, and also of special cheque papers produced by Australian paper manufacturers.

Further experience in data handling techniques has been gained by extending the use of the Bank's punched card equipment in the processing of the relatively high volumes of both paper and punched card cheques issued on certain Commonwealth Government accounts.

Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Registries

In January, 1961, the Commonwealth Government established an Inscribed Stock Registry at the Bank's Canberra branch. Other Inscribed Stock Registries are conducted by the Bank on behalf of the Commonwealth Government at its Capital city branches and also at Launceston.