Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 1990 Other Matters

Media, Information and Community Relations

The Bank and its policies continue to be the focus of considerable public interest and comment. The Bank in turn places great importance on communicating monetary policy developments to the public in a clear and timely fashion. Policy announcements are disseminated through media releases and electronic screen services. There has been a growing demand for published material issued by the Bank, particularly the Bank's monthly Bulletin.

The Bank supports outside research on topics relevant to its activities mainly through its Economic and Financial Research Fund. Among projects supported in 1989/90 were work on Australian commodities and exchange rates, and the program in monetary and financial economics at the University of Melbourne. The Bank hosted a conference on the subject of “The Australian Macro-economy in the 1980s” in June 1990; the proceedings will be published later in 1990.

Relations with Other Central Banks and Monetary Authorities

During the year the Bank hosted two meetings of Pacific Region central banks: a Symposium for Governors of these banks; and a Foreign Exchange Conference, for heads of international departments. Countries represented at these meetings, in addition to Australia, included Canada, Indonesia, Japan, West Germany, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and USA. In December 1989 the Bank also hosted the fifth successive meeting of central bank governors of the South Pacific region. The next meeting will be hosted by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

In addition to representation at regular meetings of member central banks of the Bank for International Settlements, senior management also attended meetings of the Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. There were also a number of visits to overseas central banks and a large number of overseas banking executives called on the Bank during visits to the region.

Freedom of Information

Twenty-one requests for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act were received in 1989/90, compared with 20 in the previous year. One request for internal review of a decision was also received. Sixteen of the requests in 1989/90 were from staff or former staff.

Seventeen requests (including one from last year) were granted in full; one remains to be completed. Three were refused on the grounds that the documents either did not exist, could not be located or were exempt under the Act. One was granted in part: the balance of the documents to which access was requested were exempt under the Act. On review, access was granted to an additional document.

The cost to the Bank of administering the Act in 1989/90 is estimated to have been approximately $10,200 compared with approximately $7,300 last year.

“… inflation … is more than an economic problem. It pervades the political and social structures of society and may become embedded in those structures.”

Fred Hirsch and John H. Goldthorpe
The Political Economy of Inflation, 1978