Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 2019 Financial Statements Note 1 – Accounting Policies

The RBA reports its consolidated financial statements in accordance with the Reserve Bank Act 1959 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). These financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2019 are a general purpose financial report prepared under Australian Accounting Standards (AAS) and accounting interpretations issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board, in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015, which is issued pursuant to the PGPA Act. The RBA is classified as a for-profit public sector entity for the purposes of financial disclosure. These financial statements comply with International Financial Reporting Standards. In preparing them, the RBA has not ‘early adopted’ new accounting standards or amendments to current standards that apply from 1 July 2019.

All amounts in these financial statements are expressed in Australian dollars, the functional and presentational currency of the RBA. All revenues and expenses are brought to account on an accruals basis.

(a) Consolidation

The financial statements show information for the economic entity only; this reflects the consolidated results for the parent entity, the RBA, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Note Printing Australia Limited (NPA). The results of the parent entity do not differ materially from the economic entity and have therefore not been separately disclosed.

Note Printing Australia Limited

NPA was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the RBA on 1 July 1998.

NPA Balance Sheet 2019
Assets 160.9 173.9
Liabilities 36.0 35.5
Equity 124.9 138.4

The assets, liabilities and results of NPA have been consolidated with the accounts of the parent entity in accordance with AASB 10 – Consolidated Financial Statements. All internal transactions and balances have been eliminated on consolidation. These transactions include items relating to the purchase of Australian banknotes, lease of premises and the provision of general administrative services. In addition, NPA paid a dividend of $12 million to the RBA in June 2019 (no dividend was paid in 2018).

(b) Financial instruments

A financial instrument is defined as any contract that gives rise to both a financial asset of one entity and a financial liability or equity instrument of another entity. The RBA accounts for its financial instruments in accordance with AASB 9 – Financial Instruments and reports these instruments under AASB 7 – Financial Instruments: Disclosures and AASB 13 – Fair Value Measurement.

The RBA brings its securities and foreign exchange transactions to account on a trade date basis. Deposits and repurchase agreements are brought to account on settlement date.

Financial assets

Australian dollar securities

Australian dollar securities, except those held under reverse repurchase agreements, are measured at fair value through profit or loss, as they are held to implement monetary policy and may be sold or lent, typically for short terms, under repurchase agreements. The securities are valued at market bid prices on balance date; valuation gains or losses are taken to profit. Interest earned on securities is accrued as revenue in the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

Reverse repurchase agreements

In carrying out operations to manage domestic liquidity and foreign reserves, the RBA enters into reverse repurchase agreements in Australian dollar and foreign currency securities. A reverse repurchase agreement involves the purchase of securities with an undertaking to reverse this transaction at an agreed price on an agreed future date. As a reverse repurchase agreement provides the RBA's counterparties with cash for the term of the agreement, the RBA treats it as an asset by recording a cash receivable. Reverse repurchase agreements are measured at amortised cost. Interest earned is accrued over the term of the agreement and recognised as revenue.

RBA open repurchase agreements are provided to assist eligible financial institutions manage their liquidity after normal business hours. An RBA open repurchase agreement is an Australian dollar reverse repurchase agreement without an agreed maturity date. The RBA accrues interest daily on open repurchase agreements at the target cash rate.

Foreign government securities

Foreign government securities, except those held under reverse repurchase agreements, are measured at fair value through profit or loss, as they are available to be traded in managing the portfolio of foreign exchange reserves. These securities are valued at market bid prices on balance date and valuation gains or losses are taken to profit. Interest earned on securities is accrued as revenue.

Foreign deposits

Some foreign currency reserves are invested in deposits with central banks and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), while small working balances are also maintained with a small number of commercial banks. Deposits are measured at amortised cost. Interest is accrued over the term of deposits.

Foreign currency swaps

The RBA uses foreign currency swaps to assist daily domestic liquidity management and in managing foreign reserve assets. A foreign currency swap is the simultaneous purchase and sale of one currency against another currency for a specified maturity. The cash flows are the same as borrowing one currency for a certain period and lending another currency for the same period. The pricing of the swap therefore reflects the interest rates applicable to these money market transactions. Interest rates are implicit in the swap contract but interest itself is not paid or received. Foreign currency swaps are measured at fair value through profit or loss.

Interest rate futures

The RBA uses interest rate futures contracts on overseas exchanges to manage interest rate risk on its portfolio of foreign assets. Interest rate futures positions are measured at fair value through profit or loss with valuation gains or losses taken to net profit. Futures positions are reported within ‘Foreign currency investments’.

Asian Bond Fund

The RBA invests in a number of non-Japan Asian debt markets through participation in the Executives' Meeting of East Asia-Pacific Central Banks (EMEAP) Asian Bond Fund. This investment comprises units in the local currency-denominated fund, ABF2. ABF2 is measured at fair value through profit or loss and is valued on balance date at the relevant unit price of the fund, with valuation gains or losses taken to profit. ABF2 is reported within ‘Foreign currency investments’.

Shareholding in Bank for International Settlements

Shares in the BIS are owned exclusively by the central banks and monetary authorities that are its members, including the RBA. The RBA has made an election to designate its shareholding in the BIS at fair value through other comprehensive income, as permitted under AASB 9. The shareholding is measured at fair value and valuation gains or losses are transferred directly to the revaluation reserve for ‘Shares in international and other institutions’ (Note 5). An uncalled portion of this shareholding is disclosed as a contingent liability in Note 11. Dividends are recognised as revenue in net profit, when declared.

Financial liabilities

Deposit liabilities

Deposits held with the RBA include both deposits on-demand and term deposits (refer to Note 9). Deposit liabilities are measured at amortised cost. Interest is accrued over the term of deposits and is paid periodically or at maturity. Interest accrued on deposits but not paid is included in Note 10.

Australian banknotes on issue

Banknotes on issue are a financial liability recorded at face value.

The RBA pays interest on working balances of banknotes held by banks under cash distribution arrangements. Details of the interest expense are included in Note 4.

Costs related to materials used in the production of banknotes are included in ‘Other expenses’ in Note 2.

Repurchase agreements

A repurchase agreement involves the sale of securities with an undertaking to repurchase them on an agreed future date at an agreed price. Securities sold and contracted for repurchase under repurchase agreements are retained on the balance sheet and reported within the relevant investment portfolio (refer to ‘Australian dollar securities’ and ‘Foreign government securities’, above). The counterpart obligation to repurchase the securities is reported in ‘Other liabilities’ (Note 10) and measured at amortised cost. The difference between the sale and purchase price is accrued over the term of the agreement and recognised as interest expense.

(c) Foreign exchange translation

Assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currency are converted to Australian dollar equivalents at the relevant market exchange rate on balance date in accordance with AASB 121 – The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates. Valuation gains or losses on foreign currency are taken to net profit. Interest revenue and expenses and revaluation gains and losses on foreign currency securities are converted to Australian dollars using exchange rates on the date they are accrued or recognised.

(d) Gold

Gold holdings (including gold on loan to other institutions) are valued at the Australian dollar equivalent of the 3.00 pm fix in the London gold market on balance date. Valuation gains or losses on gold are transferred to the asset revaluation reserve for gold.

The RBA lends gold to institutions that participate in the gold market. Gold provided under a loan is retained on the balance sheet. Interest is accrued over the term of the loan and is paid at maturity. The interest receivable on gold loans is accounted for in accordance with AASB 9.

(e) Property, plant and equipment

The RBA accounts for its property, plant and equipment in accordance with AASB 116 – Property, Plant and Equipment and AASB 13.


The RBA measures its property at fair value. The RBA's Australian properties are formally valued annually by an independent valuer; overseas properties are independently valued on a triennial basis with the most recent valuation conducted in 2018/19. Reflecting their specialised nature, fair value for the RBA's Business Resumption Site and National Banknote Site is based on depreciated replacement cost. Valuation gains (losses) are generally transferred to (from) the asset revaluation reserve of each respective property. Any part of a valuation loss that exceeds the balance in the relevant asset revaluation reserve is expensed. Subsequent valuation gains that offset losses that were previously treated as an expense are recognised as income in net profit.

Annual depreciation is calculated on a straight line basis using assessments of the remaining useful life of the relevant building.

Plant and equipment

Plant and equipment is valued at cost less accumulated depreciation. Annual depreciation is calculated on a straight line basis using the RBA's assessment of the remaining useful life of individual assets.

Depreciation rates for each class of depreciable assets are based on the following range of useful lives:

Buildings 15–50
Fit-out 5–10
Computer hardware 4
Motor vehicles 5
Plant and other equipment 4–20

Assets are assessed for impairment at the end of each financial year. If indications of impairment are evident, the asset's recoverable amount is estimated and an impairment adjustment is made if the recoverable amount is less than the asset's carrying amount.

Annual expenditure, revaluation adjustments and depreciation of property, plant and equipment are included in Note 8.

(f) Computer software

Computer software is reported in accordance with AASB 138 – Intangible Assets. Computer software is recognised at cost less accumulated amortisation and impairment adjustments, if any (refer to Note 7). Amortisation of computer software is calculated on a straight line basis over the estimated useful life of the relevant asset, usually for a period of between four and six years (refer to Note 2). The useful life of payments settlements and core banking software may be for a period of between 10 and 15 years, reflecting the period over which future economic benefits are expected to be realised from these assets.

(g) Capital and reserves

The capital of the Reserve Bank is established by the Reserve Bank Act.

The Reserve Bank Reserve Fund (RBRF) is also established by the Reserve Bank Act and is regarded essentially as capital. The RBRF is a reserve maintained to provide for events that are contingent and not foreseeable, including to cover losses from falls in the market value of the RBA's holdings of Australian dollar and foreign currency investments that cannot be absorbed by its other resources. The RBRF also provides for other risks such as operational risk. In accordance with the Reserve Bank Act, this reserve is funded only by transfers from net profits, as determined by the Treasurer, after consulting the Reserve Bank Board (refer to Note 1(h)). The Board assesses the adequacy of the balance of the RBRF each year. The balance of the RBRF currently stands at a level that the Board regards as appropriate for the risks the RBA holds on its balance sheet.

The RBA's equity also includes a number of other reserves.

Unrealised gains and losses on foreign exchange, foreign securities and Australian dollar securities are recognised in net profit. Such gains or losses are not available for distribution and are transferred to the unrealised profits reserve, where they remain available to absorb future unrealised losses or become available for distribution if gains are realised when assets are sold or mature.

The balance of the Superannuation reserve represents accumulated remeasurement gains or losses on the RBA's defined benefit superannuation obligations (refer Note 1 (j)).

Balances of asset revaluation reserves reflect differences between the fair value of non-traded assets and their cost. These assets are: gold; property; and shares in international and other institutions. Valuation gains on these assets are not distributable unless an asset is sold and these gains are realised.

(h) Net profits

Net profits of the RBA are dealt with in the following terms by section 30 of the Reserve Bank Act:

  1. Subject to subsection (2), the net profits of the Bank in each year shall be dealt with as follows:
    1. such amount as the Treasurer, after consultation with the Reserve Bank Board, determines is to be set aside for contingencies; and
    1. such amount as the Treasurer, after consultation with the Reserve Bank Board, determines shall be placed to the credit of the Reserve Bank Reserve Fund; and
    2. the remainder shall be paid to the Commonwealth.
  2. If the net profit of the Bank for a year is calculated on a basis that requires the inclusion of unrealised gains on assets during the year, the amount to which subsection (1) applies is to be worked out as follows:
    1. deduct from the net profit an amount equal to the total of all amounts of unrealised gains included in the net profit; and
    2. if an asset in respect of which unrealised gains were included in the net profit for a previous year or years is realised during the year – add to the amount remaining after applying paragraph (a) the total amount of those unrealised gains.

(i) Provisions for employee benefits entitlements

In accordance with AASB 119 – Employee Benefits, the RBA records provisions for certain employee benefit entitlements, including accrued annual and long service leave and post-employment health insurance benefits. These provisions reflect the present value of the estimated future cost to meet those entitlements, including any applicable fringe benefit or payroll taxes and, in the case of leave entitlements, superannuation contributions to the extent that any leave is assumed to be taken during service. Leave provisions are calculated using assumptions for length of staff service, leave utilisation and future salary. The provision for post-employment health insurance benefits is estimated using assumptions about the length of staff service, longevity of retired staff and future movements in health insurance costs. This post-employment benefit ceased to be available for new staff appointed after 30 June 2013. Further detail on employee benefit provisions are included in Note 10.

(j) Superannuation funds

The RBA includes in its Statement of Financial Position an asset or liability representing the position of its defined benefit superannuation funds measured in accordance with AASB 119. Movements in the superannuation asset or liability are reflected in the Statement of Comprehensive Income. Remeasurement gains and losses are transferred to the Superannuation reserve. Details of the superannuation funds and superannuation expenses are included in Note 14.

(k) Committed Liquidity Facility

The RBA provides a Committed Liquidity Facility (CLF) to eligible authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs). Fees received from providing the CLF are recognised as fee income in net profit. Additional information on the CLF is provided in Note 11.

(l) Non-current assets held for sale

A non-current asset is classified as being held for sale if its carrying amount will be recovered principally through a sale transaction rather than through continuing use. This classification requires the asset to be available for immediate sale and for the sale to be highly probable. Held for sale assets are measured at the lower of their carrying amount or fair value less sale costs, in accordance with AASB 5 – Non-current Assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations.

(m) Revenue from contracts with customers

In the course of its operations, the RBA enters into contracts for the provision of goods and services. These include contracts for the provision of banking and payment services to the Australian Government, overseas central banks and official institutions, the provision of the CLF for participating ADIs (refer to Note 1(k)) and, in the case of the RBA's subsidiary, banknote and security products to overseas central banks.

Revenue is recognised on a gross basis at the point the contracted performance obligation is satisfied, as required by AASB 15 – Revenue from Contracts with Customers. In the case of banking and payment services, revenue is recognised upon the completion of the provision of service. Revenue from the sale of banknote and security products is recognised at the point at which the product is accepted and CLF fee income is recognised over the period the facility is provided.

Where the right to consideration for the completion of the performance obligation under the contract becomes unconditional, a receivable is recognised in the Statement of Financial Position; a contract asset is recorded when this right remains conditional (refer to Note 7). Where a performance obligation under a contract remains unsatisfied, but consideration has been received, the RBA reports this as an unearned contract liability (refer to Note 10).

(n) Rounding

Amounts in the financial statements are rounded to the nearest million dollars unless otherwise stated.

(o) Comparative information

Certain comparative information may be reclassified where required for consistency with the current year presentation.

(p) Application of new or revised Australian Accounting Standards

New Australian accounting standards that apply to the RBA's financial statements in the current and future financial years are set out below along with an assessment of the main effects of these standards on the RBA's financial statements.

AASB 9 – Financial Instruments

The RBA adopted AASB 9 with retrospective cumulative effect from 1 July 2018. The new standard replaces AASB 139 – Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement. AASB 9 has amended the assessment criteria for the classification of financial assets and introduced a new expected credit loss model for assessing impairments arising from the deterioration in credit quality of financial instruments measured at amortised cost. Adoption of the new standard has not resulted in any change in the recognition or measurement of the RBA's financial instruments. A reconciliation of the RBA's financial assets, under AASB 9 and AASB 139, is provided below. Additional disclosure on the RBA's approach to assessing expected credit losses is contained in Note 15.

Assets under AASB 9
Fair value through profit and loss 53,444 59,140
Fair value through other comprehensive income 476 444
Amortised cost 121,900 121,428
Total 175,820 181,012
Assets under AASB 139
Fair value through profit and loss 53,444 59,140
Available for sale assets 476 444
Loans and receivables 121,900 121,428
Total 175,820 181,012

AASB 15 – Revenue from Contracts with Customers

The RBA adopted AASB 15 with retrospective cumulative effect from 1 July 2018. The new standard contains requirements for the recognition, measurement, classification and disclosure of revenue arising from contracts with customers. AASB 15 provides a principles-based approach for revenue recognition, centred around the satisfaction of performance obligations under a contractual agreement. This differs from the previous requirement under AASB 118 – Revenue, where revenue is recognised when the significant risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the buyer.

The application of AASB 15 has not had an impact on the recognition and measurement of revenue from the RBA's contracts with its customers. Additional disclosures on revenue from contracts have been made in Note 1(m).

AASB 16 – Leases

AASB 16 contains requirements for the recognition, measurement and classification of leases for both lessees and lessors. The new standard, which will apply to the RBA's financial statements with effect from 1 July 2019, will replace corresponding requirements currently contained in AASB 117 – Leases. The new standard will require a number of the RBA's lease obligations, mainly relating to its leased properties, to be recorded in the Statement of Financial Position; however, this is not expected to have a material effect. Additional disclosure on the RBA's lease arrangements will also be required.