Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 1991 Note Printing Australia

Note Printing Australia, a division of the Reserve Bank, has completed its first year operating as a separate business enterprise. This year saw the completion of a restructuring program which reduced staff levels by 43 per cent and created an efficient manufacturing organisation structure operating under a single-site industrial agreement. The “NPA Award”, ratified by the Industrial Relations Commission in September 1990, was the product of extensive management/union negotiations directed toward achieving more flexible work patterns for staff and operating arrangements for plant and equipment. It provides a framework for continuing enterprise-based development of the Award and negotiations. The total restructure was achieved without lost time for industrial disputation.

As a separate business enterprise, Note Printing Australia's prime functions are:

  • the efficient and cost-effective production of Australian currency notes of high quality and design content, incorporating effective security features;
  • the production and sale of currency notes to other issuing authorities;
  • the production and sale of other security instruments and products which are compatible with its role as a high-security currency note producer;
  • the development of markets for its output, in Australia and overseas;
  • research and development related to the efficient production of currency notes and other compatible products; and
  • the exploitation, in Australia's interests, of the results of that research and development.

While this first year of commercial operation brought with it a wide range of challenges including large-scale retraining, implementation of new business systems, and recasting of strategic plans, the determination by NPA staff to succeed has resulted in a positive financial outcome for the year. Deliveries to the Bank amounted to 445 million notes, compared with 275 million the previous year at a price which was 30 per cent lower on average. Internationally there was widespread interest in Australia's plastic-note technology arising from the increased durability and improved security features offered. During 1990/91 plastic notes were manufactured by NPA for Singapore, Western Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

The Exhibition and Display Gallery at NPA's Craigieburn plant has a range of exhibits covering the design and printing of Australia's currency notes and gives visitors the opportunity to see currency being printed. During 1990/1991, 17,000 people visited the Gallery.

The Board of NPA, which is accountable to the Board of the Bank, is chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr M.J. Phillips. Other members are Mr J.N. Davenport, a member of the Board of the Bank and Mr F.M. Bethwaite, Deputy Managing Director, Renison Goldfields Consolidated Ltd.