Are paper banknotes still in use in Australia?

Travel Destinations

By Kristy Tolley

Australian Currency

Australia is a country known for its unique wildlife, stunning landscapes, and diverse culture. However, its currency is also a point of interest for many foreign visitors. The Australian dollar (AUD) is the official currency of Australia and is used by millions of people every day. In the past, paper banknotes were widely used in Australia, but recent advancements in technology have brought about the rise of a new type of banknote: polymer banknotes.

The Evolution of Paper Banknotes

Paper banknotes have been in use in Australia since the early 1900s. These banknotes were made from a blend of cotton and linen fibers and were designed to be durable and long-lasting. However, they had several drawbacks. They were easily damaged by water and could tear easily. This made them more difficult to use in everyday transactions, and they had to be replaced often.

Over time, advancements were made to improve the quality of paper banknotes. They were made from higher quality materials and included various security features to prevent counterfeiting. However, despite these improvements, paper banknotes still had limitations. This led to a search for an alternative material that would be more durable and secure.

Polymer Banknotes: A Game Changer

Polymer banknotes are made from a type of plastic that is more durable and resistant to wear and tear. They were first introduced in Australia in 1988, with the release of a commemorative $10 banknote for the bicentennial celebrations. These banknotes were an instant success and paved the way for the widespread adoption of polymer banknotes.

The Benefits of Polymer Banknotes

Polymer banknotes have several advantages over paper banknotes. They are more durable, last longer, and are more resistant to counterfeiting. They are also more environmentally friendly as they can be recycled and are less harmful to the environment than paper banknotes.

The Implementation of Polymer Banknotes in Australia

Australia was the first country in the world to introduce polymer banknotes, and since then, several other countries have followed suit. Polymer banknotes were introduced in Australia in stages, starting with the $10 banknote in 1988, followed by the $5, $20, $50, and $100 banknotes.

The Future of Banknote Technology

The development of banknote technology is an ongoing process. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is constantly looking for ways to improve the security and durability of banknotes. This includes the use of new materials, new printing techniques, and new security features.

Current Status of Paper Banknotes in Australia

Despite the widespread adoption of polymer banknotes, paper banknotes are still in use in Australia. They are gradually being phased out, but they are still legal tender and can be used for transactions.

The Phasing Out of Paper Banknotes

The RBA has announced plans to phase out paper banknotes completely by 2023. This means that all banknotes in circulation will be polymer banknotes by that time.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Polymer vs. Paper Banknotes

Polymer banknotes have several advantages over paper banknotes, as mentioned earlier. However, they also have some disadvantages. They are more expensive to produce than paper banknotes, and some people find them more difficult to handle as they are more slippery.

Public Perception of Polymer Banknotes

The introduction of polymer banknotes was met with some initial skepticism from the public. However, over time, they have become widely accepted, and many people now prefer them over paper banknotes.

Conclusion: The Future of Australian Currency

Polymer banknotes have revolutionized the way we use and think about currency. They are more durable, secure, and environmentally friendly than paper banknotes. The phasing out of paper banknotes in Australia is a significant step towards the future of currency. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see further improvements in banknote technology.

References and Further Reading

  • Reserve Bank of Australia. (2021). Banknotes. Retrieved from
  • The Conversation. (2016). Polymer banknotes are cleaner, greener and much harder to counterfeit – but they’re not perfect. Retrieved from
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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