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Australian dollar

The Australian Dollar (currency code AUD) is the official currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Norfolk Island and Tuvalu.

Each Australian Dollar is composed of 100 cents[?].

The Australian dollar was introduced in February 14, 1966, not only replacing the Australian pound (already distinct from the pound sterling) but also introducing a decimal system. Robert Menzies wished to name the currency "the Royal", and other names such as "the Austral" were also proposed, but the alternatives were quickly howled down.

It is freely convertible and the exchange rate has been "floating" (set by market forces) since 1983, when its value was approximately equal to the US dollar, and soon after significantly reduced in value against major world currencies. More recently, it has occasionally gone below a value of 50 US cents. As of June 2003, it trades for approximately 66 US cents, after the US dollar's continued fall against global currencies. Its value against the euro has stayed near static. It it still a little under the expected value on purchasing power parity benchmarks, including the Big Mac index.

It is notable that Australian banknotes[?] are now made of a "plastic", specifically polypropylene. These have a transparent 'window' as a security feature. This began in the 1980s, with the release of an experimental $10 note that showed Aboriginal scenes. Prior to this, the currency was produced in paper. All Australian notes are issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia[?]. Australian coins are produced by the Royal Australian Mint[?].

There have been two basic issues of currency. The first paper issues of Australian dollars, issued in 1966, featured the following persons:

The plastic dollar bills and coins that became effective throughout the 1980s and 1990s and are currently in use are as follows:

The fractional coinage features Australian native animals and the monarch on the reverse:

  • Five cent - smallest "silver" coin featuring an echidna
  • Ten cent - a lyrebird (a native bird)
  • Twenty cent - the platypus
  • Fifty cent - a kangaroo and an emu holding the Australian coat of arms. This large coin is octagonal cupro-nickel, it replaced a round silver 50 cent coin which, soon after issue, became far more valuable for its silver content than as a unit of currency.

Copper one cent and two cent coins were abolished in 1991. Cash prices are now rounded to the nearest five cents.

External links

The Reserve Bank of Australia (http://www.rba.gov.au/CurrencyNotes/KeyFacts/fact_sheet_notes) site gives further information about Australian currency (notes), including current banknote designs (http://www.rba.gov.au/CurrencyNotes/people_on_notes).
The Royal Australian Mint (http://www.ramint.gov.au/) site gives information on Australian coins, including current coin designs (http://www.ramint.gov.au/making_coins/default.cfm?DefaultPage=coin_designs.cfm).



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