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Australian dollar- General information

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The Australian dollar (sign: $; code: AUD) is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. Within Australia it is almost always abbreviated with the dollar sign ($), with A$ sometimes used to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is subdivided into 100 cents.

The Australian dollar is currently the seventh-most-traded currency in the world foreign exchange markets behind the US dollar, the euro, the yen and the pound sterling.The Australian dollar is popular with currency traders, because of the comparatively high interest rates in Australia, the relative freedom of the foreign exchange market from government intervention, the general stability of Australia's economy and political system, and the prevailing view that the Australian dollar offers diversification benefits in a portfolio containing the major world currencies, especially because of its greater exposure to Asian economies and the commodities cycle. The currency is commonly referred to by foreign-exchange.

With pounds, shillings and pence to be replaced by decimal currency on 14 February 1966, many names for the new currency were suggested. In 1965, the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, a monarchist, wished to name the currency the royal. Other proposed names included more exotic suggestions such as the austral, the oz, the boomer, the roo, the kanga, the emu, the digger, the kwid, the dinkum, the ming (Menzies' nickname). Owing to Menzies' influence, the name royal was settled on, and trial designs were prepared and printed by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The choice of name for the currency proved unpopular, and it was later dropped in favour of the dollar.
The Australian pound, introduced in 1910 and officially distinct in value from the pound sterling since devaluation in 1931, was replaced by the dollar on 14 February 1966.The rate of conversion for the new decimal currency was two dollars per Australian pound, or ten Australian shillings per dollar. The exchange rate was pegged to the pound sterling at a rate of 1 dollar = 8 shillings (2.50 dollars = 1 pound sterling). In 1967, Australia effectively left the Sterling Area when the pound sterling was devalued against the U.S. dollar and the Australian dollar did not follow. It maintained its peg to the U.S. dollar at the rate of 1 Australian dollar = 1.12 U.S. dollars.

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First series

The first paper issues of Australian dollars were issued in 1966. The $1, $2, $10 & $20 notes had exact equivalents in the former pound banknotes. The $5 note was issued in 1967, after the public had become familiar with decimal currency. There had not previously been an equivalent ?2 10s note.
The $50 note was introduced in 1973. The $1 note was replaced by a coin in 1984, while a $100 note was also introduced. In 1988 the $2 note was replaced by a coin.

Polymer series

The first polymer banknotes were issued in 1988 by the Reserve Bank of Australia, specifically polypropylene polymer banknotes (produced by Note Printing Australia), to commemorate the bicentenary of European settlement in Australia. All Australian notes are now made of polymer.
Notes are sized according to their denomination, for the visually impaired. They are the same height but of different lengths, in order of their value - $5 being the smallest, $100 the largest. Notes are also colour coded: $5 pink (there are two designs); $10 blue; $20 red; $50 yellow; and $100 green.
As a security feature, these notes contained a transparent window with an optically variable image of Captain James Cook. Every note also has a seven-pointed star which has only half the printing on each side as well as an image of the Australian Coat of Arms only visible when held up to the light. Australian banknotes were the first in the world to use such features.

Next Generation Banknote Project

The Reserve Bank of Australia is actively investigating ways in which it can continue to maintain banknote security. To that end, in 2012 the Bank announced the Next Generation Banknote (NGB) project to issue a new banknote series with upgraded security features. Importantly, the new banknotes will retain many of the key design elements of the current banknote series, including the people portrayed, size, general colour palette and denominational structure. There will, however, be design changes to accommodate the new security features. Issuance of the denominations will be staged over a number of years, with the first two denominations, the $5 and $10, expected to be issued in 2016/17.

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