Monday, May 25, 2009

Not so shiny

Behind the scenes at the firm that manufactures Australia's squeaky-clean money
"ALONG with the Hills hoist and the lawn mower, the development of polymer banknotes rates as one of Australia's most innovative offerings to the world.

Australia began the switch to the durable and more secure plastic notes in 1988. Eight years later, the RBA and Belgian plastics firm UCB became joint venture partners in a company called Securency.

Over the next decade, nearly 30 countries, including Romania, Nigeria and Guatemala, switched to or tested the polymer notes.

While the company's operations, as well as its partnership with the Reserve Bank, is relatively unknown in Australia, Securency's success has been increasingly noted in the boardrooms of its overseas-based competitors. An executive from a competing firm says one question that is regularly pondered is: "How can a company that is owned 50 per cent by the Reserve Bank be so successful in some of the most corrupt countries in the world?"

Here's The Age's full report.