Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 1993 Note Printing Australia

Note Printing Australia (NPA) manufactures Australia's currency notes and competes in domestic and overseas markets for a range of other security products. NPA is a Division of the Reserve Bank, but operates as a separate business enterprise, with a Board of Directors established under charter from the Bank's Board.

NPA moved closer during the year to its goal of becoming a fully commercial-type operation and a leader in innovative currency note technology. Major activities included:

  • the launch of a Quality Assurance Program to ensure continuous review of, and improvement in, systems of control;
  • a review of systems and procedures aimed at more effective production planning;
  • development of advanced technology inks, which will reduce waste and, potentially, provide a product for licensing to other note printers;
  • further refinement of the technology underlying polymer notes, focusing on the security and handling characteristics of such notes; and
  • conclusion of a second enterprise agreement in December 1992 which provides for productivity-related wage increases over its three-year term.

NPA's efforts in promoting its technologies and capabilities to bankers and note issuers around the world have led to its inclusion, for the first time, on the tender lists of several countries and aroused interest in licensing NPA's polymer technology. During the year NPA successfully tendered for, and completed, three overseas contracts. These contracts, which generated over 10 per cent of NPA's total sales revenue, included the manufacture of polymer currency notes for Kuwait and Indonesia, as well as paper notes for Papua New Guinea. Domestically, NPA secured contracts to redesign and print travellers' cheques for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and to print passports in a partnership arrangement with the Australian Government Printing Service.

While its commercialisation activities are expanding, the greater part of NPA's activities remains the production of Australian currency notes, and the design, planning and production of further denominations in the new Australian series. During 1992/93 NPA delivered 360 million notes to the Bank for issue; this was substantially lower than in the previous year when stocks of the new $5 note were accumulated prior to issue.

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 provides an opportunity for visitors to see notes being printed. About 20,000 people visited the Gallery during 1992/93.

The Board of NPA is chaired by Mr G.J. Thompson, Deputy Governor. Other members are Mr F.M. Bethwaite, Deputy Managing Director, Renison Goldfields Consolidated Ltd and Mr J.N. Davenport, a former member of the Board of the Bank. Mr M.J. Phillips, former Deputy Governor, who had been Chairman since February 1990, resigned from the Board in March 1993, having successfully guided NPA through its difficult transitional period.