Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 2008 The Reserve Bank in the Community

Activities of the State Offices

While the majority of Reserve Bank staff and senior management are located in Head Office in New South Wales, the Bank also has offices in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.[1] These State Offices play an important role in the Bank's business liaison program and in ensuring the Bank is accessible to the wider community.

Since 2001, the Reserve Bank has systematically established relationships across a broad cross-section of the business community. Economists in Head Office, as well as in each of the State Offices, have built up a pool of around 1,500 regular contacts around the country, visiting nearly 100 of them each month. The information obtained is reported to Head Office and incorporated into the material prepared for monthly Reserve Bank Board meetings and the quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy. In this way, information obtained from liaison complements standard sources – such as data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and business surveys – in forming the Reserve Bank's assessment of the economy.

The State Offices also play a significant role in the Reserve Bank's efforts to keep the public informed of its evolving views on the economy. State Office staff regularly give presentations on economic developments to business groups, community organisations and educational institutions, in both State capitals and regional centres. In addition, senior staff from Economic Group visit the State Offices each quarter, following the release of the Statement on Monetary Policy, to brief groups of liaison contacts on the main themes of the Statement. There were over 50 such presentations and briefings in 2007/08.

Liaison with Small Businesses

The Reserve Bank continues to convene its Small Business Advisory Panel, which meets annually to discuss issues relating to the provision of finance and the broader economic environment for small businesses. Membership of the Panel is drawn from a wide range of industries across the country. The Panel represents a valuable source of information on the financial and economic conditions faced by small businesses.

Museum of Australian Currency Notes

The Museum, which opened in March 2005, exhibits the story of Australia's currency notes against the background of the nation's broader history. After an introductory stage on developments before Federation, which includes Australia's first gold coins, visitors can review the various series of notes produced since the first Australian notes in 1913–1915. The final stage in the Museum focuses on Australia's polymer banknotes, including information on their design, security, recycling and other features. As well as viewing the original notes, visitors can learn about the men and women represented on the notes over the years, the artwork used in their design and some of the key episodes in Australian history through the Museum's displays of archival film, photographs and documents.

About 11,000 people visited the Museum in 2007/08. The museum has been particularly popular with school groups, many of which receive a short presentation on the Reserve Bank or, in the case of senior students, a talk on the Australian economy. Most of the information in the Museum is on the Reserve Bank's website, where visitors can also take a virtual tour of the Museum. Overall usage of the Museum online in the past year was around 560,000 page views/downloads.

Financial Assistance for Research and Education

The Reserve Bank supports a range of research and related activities, such as conferences and workshops, that are closely aligned with its primary responsibilities. The Bank provided sponsorship to several universities and think-tanks in 2007/08, with activities focusing on areas including macroeconomics, econometrics and financial markets. Sponsorships such as these can be on a one-off basis or ongoing.

For many years the Reserve Bank has contributed towards the cost of a monthly survey of inflation expectations, undertaken by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne, and a quarterly survey of union inflation and wage expectations, undertaken by the Workplace Research Centre at the University of Sydney. The Bank also provides funding for the Melbourne Institute's Wages Report.

The Reserve Bank continued to provide financial support for the International Journal of Central Banking, the primary objectives of which are to disseminate first-class policy-relevant and applied research on central banking and to promote communication among researchers both inside and outside central banks. The Bank continued its support of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation following completion in 2005 of the initial five-year support plan, and also its long-standing practice of contributing to the Group of Thirty's program of research and publications in the area of international finance.

Financial assistance to Australian universities each year includes contributions towards the costs of their organising conferences in economics and closely related fields. In 2007/08, these conferences included the 20th Conference for PhD Students in Economics and Business, held at the University of Western Australia; the Economic Society of Australia's 36th Conference of Economists, held in Hobart; the 13th Melbourne Money and Finance Conference; the 13th Australasian Macroeconomic Workshop, held at Sydney University; the Australasian Meeting of the Econometric Society, held at the University of Queensland; the University of New South Wales’ 20th Australasian Finance and Banking Conference; the Financial Integrity Research Network PhD Tutorial, held at the University of Technology, Sydney; and the 3rd Annual Workshop in Macroeconomic Dynamics, held at the University of Melbourne.

The Reserve Bank sponsors an annual essay competition for undergraduate students across Australia, jointly organised with the University of New South Wales Economics Society, in order to engage and support students of economics. This year, entrants are required to submit a 2,000-word essay explaining the changes in housing costs and affordability over the past two decades, and analysing possible government responses. The Bank will host a presentation ceremony for the prize winners later in the year.

Economic Group's Adam Cagliarini (left), with winners of the inaugural Economics Competition sponsored by the Reserve Bank. From left, Callum Jones, Virginia Gogan and Ashley Cheng, with the other competition judges, Hazel Bateman and Glenn Otto of the University of New South Wales.

In conjunction with APRA, the Reserve Bank has continued sponsorship of the Brian Gray Scholarship Program, initiated in 2002 in memory of a former senior officer of the Reserve Bank and APRA. Two scholarships were awarded under this program in 2008, for honours year studies at the Queensland University of Technology, examining default options for superannuation funds, and at the University of Western Australia, on measurement of house prices using a characteristics-based approach.

The Reserve Bank also provides annual sponsorship for one officer from the Bank of Papua New Guinea to study at post-graduate level at an Australian university. The most recent scholarship holder completed a Master of Business (Applied Finance) degree at the Queensland University of Technology in March 2008.

Charitable Activities

During the year, the Reserve Bank made its sixth annual contribution of $50,000 to the Financial Markets Foundation for Children, of which the Governor is Chairman. Along with several other Australian financial institutions, the Bank is committed to support the Foundation to this extent for a further four years. In July 2008, in its third public event to raise funds, the Governor addressed the Anika Foundation, which was established in 2005 to support research into adolescent depression and suicide.

During the year, the Reserve Bank revised its corporate philanthropy program to include an initiative of dollar matching staff payroll deductions to the Reserve Bank Benevolent Fund, a Workplace Giving Program and a Volunteer Day Program, where staff give their time and labour to a charitable organisation and the Bank donates the equivalent of a day's pay to that charity. Previously, the Reserve Bank made an annual contribution to a range of charities (some of which overlapped with those supported by the staff Benevolent Fund). Concurrently, the Benevolent Fund took the opportunity to revise the charities it supports to a core set of 12 recognised charities working in the areas of welfare, illness, alcohol and drug dependency, disability and community issues. Under these new initiatives, the Bank donated $33,000 to charitable organisations in 2007/08, equivalent to the amount donated by the Benevolent Fund.

Reserve Bank staff engaged with the community in a number of volunteering capacities in the past year, including the Cancer Council's Daffodil Day and Australia's Biggest Morning Tea fundraisers, the National Breast Cancer Foundation's Pink Ribbon Day, the Jeans for Genes Day annual fundraiser for the Children's Medical Research Institute, and the Christmas food collection for the Salvation Army's Streetlevel Mission.


The Victorian Office covers Tasmania, the South Australian Office covers the Northern Territory and staff in Head Office cover the Australian Capital Territory. [1]