The Reserve Bank of Australia announced today (12 April 2016) that a new polymer $5 note would be released into circulation in Australia on 1 September 2016. The new note is the same size as the old one and retains the same basic colour scheme and major design elements to make the transition from the old note to the new one as easy as possible for the public and businesses. However the new note includes some significant improvements in terms of security and tactility to help the vision impaired distinguish each note’s denomination. This note is the first in what the the RBA is calling the “next generation” of Australian banknotes, each of which will include the security and tactile upgrades. Images of the new $5 note design can be seen below (courtesy of the Reserve Bank of Australia)
You’ll note immediately that there’s an updated portrait of Her Majesty, which some commentators have found distasteful believing her portrait should have been removed. You’ll also note that there’s a full height window on the new note as well as a differently designed OVD. The note also shows a couple of depictions of a bird, in this case the Eastern Spinebill while either side of the vertical window are the yellow blooms of a the Prickly Moses Wattle. The RBA says that the new design of each denomination note will depict a different Australian bird and variety of wattle. The authors hope they improve on the wattle images a little because, between us, and you the reader, the wattle flowers on this note look remarkably like bacteria.
Tell us you don’t see the resemblance too!
Comedy aside, it’s always exciting to see a new Aussie banknote design being issued. It hasn’t happened too many times in the last 20 years (actually only once that we can think of) and it’ll be fun finding the new notes in our wallets and purses. It’ll also be interesting to see if the RBA makes any changes to the serial numbering system that is in use, and perhaps give collectors a whole new set of first and last prefixes to look out for.