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What is the Reserve Bank of Australia?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2019
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The Reserve Bank of Australia is Australia's central bank, responsible for maintaining Australia's economic well-being by setting and implementing monetary policy. Like other central banks, the Reserve Bank of Australia is charged with keeping the economy stable, promoting growth, and looking out for the economic welfare of the nation's citizens and companies. This financial institution is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and the bulk of its employees are assigned to the bank's headquarters.

This central bank was created by an act of legislation in 1959 to replace the Commonwealth Bank in order to streamline economic activities in Australia. The bank is charged with three separate and related missions. The first is currency stability, avoiding inflation, deflation, and other risks to the Australian dollar. The second is the promotion of full employment in Australia through the setting of economic and monetary policy to promote growth. Finally, the Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to make policies that will benefit the citizens and businesses of Australia, generating prosperity and economic health.

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Two different boards oversee operations at the Reserve Bank of Australia: the Reserve Bank Board and the Payments System Board. These boards have a number of seated members, some of whom come from other government agencies like the Australian Treasury. These representatives consider the interests of their agencies, as well as the Australian economy, when participating in policy making. In addition to setting policy in the form of things like interest rates, the Reserve Bank of Australia also prints Australia's currency and controls the money supply.

A strong central bank can maintain acceptable liquidity levels, keeping the economy growing steadily without generating inflation and ensuring that most people and businesses have access to credit. This helps people and businesses grow and maintain economic independence. The Reserve Bank of Australia is also concerned with Australia's role in the global economy, ensuring that Australia maintains positive trade relations and a strong position relative to other national economies.

Operations at the Reserve Bank of Australia are supported by other government agencies including regulatory agencies providing oversight of the Australian financial industry. Acts of legislation and policymaking are used by the Australian government to achieve various economic goals, and the bank works with other agencies on projects requiring cooperation and teamwork. These agencies generally strive for a nonpartisan approach and may work on initiatives over long periods of time, requiring cooperation and support from multiple prime ministers and parliaments.

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