The Reserve Bank of Australia has unveiled the new $50 note design, which has upgraded security features and is easier to use for the vision impaired.
The new design, revealed on Thursday, has new security features and four bumps on each edge for the vision impaired, while maintaining the yellow colour which gives rise to its ‘pineapple’ nickname. It will be released into circulation in October.
As with the current design, the ‘pineapple’ features portraits of David Unaipon, an inventor and Australia’s first published Aboriginal author, and Edith Cowan, the first female member of an Australian parliament.
Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said the new design features improved security and ease of recognition.
“Improved security and ease of recognition underpin the design of the new $50 banknote. With the release of the $5 and $10 during the past two years, we are confident the Australian public are becoming familiar with the new banknote security features,” Governor Lowe said in a statement.
“David Unaipon and Edith Cowan were campaigners for social change and we are proud to continue featuring them on the $50 banknote. The new banknote provides the opportunity to tell more of the rich story behind these distinguished Australians.”
What are the new features?
The new notes boast upgraded security features to combat counterfeiting, including a top-to-bottom clear window with dynamic features such as a reversing number.
It will also have a patch with a rolling-colour effect and microprint featuring excerpts from David Unaipon’s book and Edith Cowan’s maiden parliamentary speech.
A tactile feature of four raised dots should help the vision-impaired distinguish banknote denominations.
Visually, the new note features the Acacia humifusa, a species of native Australian wattle, and the black swan, the official bird of Western Australia.
Story-telling elements in the design include a shield, gumnut brooch and the King Edward Memorial Hospital that Cowan helped establish.
Will machines accept them?
The Reserve Bank assured Australians it was “working closely” with banknote equipment manufacturers and retailers to help them prepare ATMs and other machines to accept the new banknote.
“This has included a number of trials and the early distribution of test notes to allow manufacturers and owners of these machines to update their equipment,” the RBA said.
“The design is being released [on Thursday] to facilitate this ongoing work with the industry as well as staff training to ensure a smooth transition when the banknotes are released later this year.”
What happens to existing $50 notes?
As mentioned above, the new notes won’t enter circulation until October 2018.
Even after the note is released, the RBA promised that the old-style notes would “remain legal tender”.
Will there be more new notes?
Yes, the RBA expects to “upgrade” the $20 note in 2019. It follows the release of new $5 notes in 2016 and $10 notes in 2017.