Editors Note: I can’t tell for myself but have it from numerous authorities that the Reserve Bank forgot to think about visual appeal and design and the bank note can be fairly described as ugly!


The Reserve Bank of Australia has issued the design of the highly anticipated new $5 note, that will for the first time, have a tactile feature.

The inclusion of a tactile feature is the fruition of campaigning by Vision Australia, the blindness and low vision community, and advocate Connor McLeod who launched a successful change.org petition.

Vision Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Ron Hooton said that the tactile feature and other design features will assist over 350,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision to transact with confidence.

“Everyone, from a young child who receives gift money from their grandparents at Christmas to an adult who is enjoying a meal with friends in a café, needs to know how much cash they are giving and receiving,” said Ron.

“The new tactile feature, as well as the brighter colours, bolder numbers and different sizing will go some way to enabling a person who is blind or has low vision to access this everyday part of life, for life,” said Ron.

Vision Australia has worked with the blindness and low vision community for many years to advocate for tactile features on Australian banknotes.  In late 2014, around 100 Vision Australia clients were involved in consultations and research undertaken by the Reserve Bank of Australia, strengthening the case for their introduction.

“More than half of the people who responded to a Vision Australia survey feel they are being short changed on occasion. The survey also revealed that over sixty per cent of people with severe to total blindness have trouble differentiating between banknotes,” confirmed Ron.

“The new $5 note and the rest of the updated suites of notes that will be launched in the coming years will go some way to reducing the anxiety and confusion felt by people who are blind or have low vision when they are handling cash.”

The new $5 bank note will be released on 1 September 2016. The Reserve Bank of Australia has advised it will take some time for the new banknotes to be widely circulated. The current series of banknotes can continue to be used even after the new banknotes are issued.

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