Central bank says new design will honour ‘the culture and history of the First Australians’.
Australia’s new five-dollar ($3.50) note will feature a design honouring the country’s Indigenous people, replacing the portrait of the British monarch that was previously on the note.
The Reserve Bank of Australia, Australia’s central bank, said the design highlighting “the culture and history of the First Australians” would be developed in consultation with the Indigenous community and was likely to take a few years. The Australian Parliament will continue to appear on the other side of the banknote, it added.
“This new design will replace the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” the bank said in a statement on its website on Thursday.
The decision to leave successor King Charles III off the note means the monarch will no longer appear on any of Australia’s paper currency.
The central bank said the update followed discussions with the government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, which supported the change.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the change was an opportunity to strike a good balance.
“The monarch will still be on the coins, but the five-dollar note will say more about our history and our heritage and our country, and I see that as a good thing,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
The British monarch is Australia’s head of state, a largely ceremonial role, but the death of Queen Elizabeth last September sparked renewed debate about whether the country should become a republic.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture has featured on a number of notes.
The current 50-dollar ($35) note features author, activist, inventor, musician and preacher, David Unaipon, a Ngarrindjeri man from South Australia.
Albanese’s government is planning a landmark referendum on an Aboriginal “voice” to parliament for the Indigenous community.
A “yes” vote would constitutionally enshrine an advisory group to government made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.
The referendum is expected to take place this year.