Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 1993 Community Relations

Information Services

The Bank understands and accepts the need for it to be publicly accountable in the exercise of its important responsibilities. To this end, it seeks to communicate its policy and other messages to the general community through a variety of channels. These include, in addition to the Annual Report itself, media releases, public addresses by the Governors and other senior officers, articles in the Bank's monthly Bulletin, and research papers. During 1992/93, 15 Research Discussion Papers were published, along with the volume of papers presented at the Bank's July 1992 conference on Inflation, Disinflation and Monetary Policy. In late 1992, the Bank published a major historical work by Professor C.B. Schedvin entitled In Reserve: Central Banking in Australia, 1945–75. In December 1992, senior officers of the Bank appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Banking, Finance and Public Administration to discuss matters related to the Bank's 1991/92 Annual Report.

Through the Economic and Financial Research Fund (EFRF) the Bank provides some modest support for university research projects. During 1992/93, the EFRF contributed a total of $73,500 to eleven projects associated with several Australian universities.

During the year the Bank provided speakers for student groups, and hosted visits to its Head Office by groups of students and work skill groups. Public exhibitions of 50 artworks from the Bank's collection were held in Sydney and Melbourne.

As required under the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987, the Bank's fifth Annual Report on its equal employment opportunity program was tabled in Parliament in November 1992.

International Relations

The steady flow of visits to and from other central banks continued during the year, along with the increasing focus on countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The Bank participated in the SEANZA (South East Asia, New Zealand and Australia) Symposium of Central Bank Governors in Tokyo in November, and the annual meeting of South Pacific Central Bank Governors in Rabaul, in December.

Since 1990, the Bank has participated, at a senior level, in the biannual Executives' Meetings of central banks in East Asia and Pacific (EMEAP) which is hosted by the Bank of Japan and designed to enhance cooperation among regional central banks. To the same end, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia have begun a series of six-monthly meetings to discuss matters of mutual interest. The primary focus of the group – termed the Four Markets Meetings – is issues in financial markets.

Other international meetings attended by Bank officers during the past year have included regular meetings of the Bank for International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In different ways the Bank sponsors training for staff of other regional central banks. This year a second post-graduate scholarship was awarded to an officer of the Bank of Papua New Guinea (now undertaking a graduate Diploma in Financial Management at the University of New England), while two officers from the People's Bank of China were assisted in 1992 to undertake the Master of Applied Finance course at Macquarie University.

Short-term training attachments to the Bank were arranged for officers of the State Bank of Vietnam, the People's Bank of China, the Central Bank of Samoa, the Reserve Bank of Fiji, the National Bank of Cambodia and the Bank of the Lao PDR. The Bank took part in the SEANZA Central Banking Course held in Tokyo. In addition, the Bank provided speakers for training courses organised by the People's Bank of China, the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu and the South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Research and Training Centre. Technical assistance was extended to the Papua New Guinea Bankers' Institute (on training programs) and to the Reserve Bank of Fiji (on security matters).

Outside the region, the Bank made three senior officers available at various times throughout the year to participate in IMF-sponsored technical assistance missions to the former Soviet Union countries of Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Turkmenistan. The main areas of expertise provided by the Bank's participants were related to the establishment of workable accounting and payments systems.

Freedom of Information Act

Section 8 statement

The Reserve Bank is an exempt agency under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 in respect of documents concerning banking operations (including individual open market operations and foreign exchange dealings) and exchange control matters.

Facilities for access and Freedom of Information procedures: Inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act, including requests for access to documents, should be directed to the Secretary, Head Office, or to the Managers of branches (General Manager at Note Printing Australia). Applications should be accompanied by the application fee (currently $30). Facilities to inspect documents to which access has been granted are available in the Bank's branches.

Organisation and functions: The Reserve Bank of Australia is Australia's central bank. It was established by Commonwealth legislation in 1911. Its functions, powers and responsibilities are specified in the Reserve Bank Act 1959, the Banking Act 1959, the Financial Corporations Act 1974 and the Regulations under those Acts. Additional information is contained in the booklet Reserve Bank of Australia: Functions and Operations, which is available from all Reserve Bank branches.

Categories of documents: Categories of documents available to the public are detailed in the Functions and Operations booklet. A list of publications, including speeches, articles, occasional papers, information booklets, conference volumes, regular media releases and other publications is published from time to time in the Bank's monthly Bulletin. Other documents held by the Bank are in the form of working notes and files on policy and operational matters, statistical data, personnel, premises and general administration.


A total of 17 requests for access to documents under the Act was received in 1992/93, compared with 20 in the previous year. One request for internal review of a decision also was received. Six of the requests received in 1992/93 were from staff or former staff.

Seven requests were granted in full. Eight 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 other documents to which access was requested were exempt under the Act. One was transferred to another agency. The internal review confirmed the decision not to grant access to a document.

The cost to the Bank of administering the Act in 1992/93 is estimated to have been approximately $29,200, compared with approximately $6,400 in the previous year.