Factual Information Regarding the Cleanliness of RBA Polymer Notes in $AUD

Brett Wilson made this Freedom of Information request to Reserve Bank of Australia

The request was successful.

From: Brett Wilson

Delivered

Dear Reserve Bank of Australia, FOI Officer

As opposed to polymer, it is alleged that paper money can get dirty easily. When subjected to a thorough test, paper money has been known to contain traces of feces, grime, viruses, bacteria or germ agents.

It has been publicised on your web site that compared to paper bills, polymer banknotes are a significantly cleaner and are less likely to play host to a multitude of bacteria and viruses. It is my understanding, that this is because polymer banknotes are essentially made of plastic. The upside of this is they can be cleaned or decontaminated quite easily.

Does the Reserve bank have any medical or scientific evidence, documents it holds on file or archives, where the Bank can provide copies to me? These documents might include:

a. Information from paid studies and or independent studies the RBA had previously undertaken that might show the cleanliness of polymer notes compared to that of paper money.

It is requested the RBA provide a copy of the most up to date medical or viral science information it has on record, where studies have been conducted that tested the polymer notes for the possible transmission of germ agents and other bacteria to see how long these germ agents could survive on polymer notes, before they become morbid and might pose no hazardous bio security risk to the user or handler of a RBA polymer $AUD note?

I look forward to receiving and reviewing any information you are able to supply in relation to this FOI Request.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

brett alan:wilson

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From: FOI
Reserve Bank of Australia

Dear Mr Wilson,

I refer to your email below and seek to clarify the scope of your request.

Could you please nominate a period of time over which you would like the Bank to search for documents relevant to your request (for example, documents produced since 1 January 2015).

Also, please confirm that a scope covering:

'documents that detail scientific or medical analysis of the cleanliness or otherwise of polymer currency, either independently or in comparison to paper currency, and any documents that indicate how long germ agents can survive on polymer notes and/or be a biohazard to handlers of banknotes'

would satisfy your interest.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Phil Lomas | FOI Officer | Secretary's Department  
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA | 65 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
p: +61 2 9551 9744 | e: [RBA request email] | w: www.rba.gov.au

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From: FOI
Reserve Bank of Australia

Dear Mr Wilson,

I refer to my email below and advise that your request cannot proceed until I receive clarification from you (it is currently not valid in terms of section 15(2)(b)).

Yours sincerely

Phil Lomas | FOI Officer | Secretary's Department  
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA | 65 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
p: +61 2 9551 9744 | e: [RBA request email] | w: www.rba.gov.au

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From: Brett Wilson

Delivered

Dear FOI Officer, Phil Lomas,

Thank you for your reply.

Providing copies of internal documents - 'documents that detail scientific or medical analysis of the cleanliness or otherwise of polymer currency, either independently or in comparison to paper currency, and any documents that indicate how long germ agents can survive on polymer notes and/or be a biohazard to handlers of banknotes' would satisfy my interest.

Yours sincerely,

Brett Wilson

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From: FOI
Reserve Bank of Australia

Dear Mr Wilson,

Thank you for your clarification. I note you haven't included a time frame, but I will forward your request to the relevant department to see if they are able to process it as it stands.

I note too that you have added 'internal review' into the subject line of your e-mail. Internal review is only available to an applicant after an FOI decision has been made (if an applicant is unhappy with the decision). Your request is just starting and the Bank has made no decision yet in relation to it, so internal review does not apply.

In terms of the FOI Act 1982 (and subject to our Note Issue Department being able to process an open dated request) I confirm receipt of your request and advise that processing of it commences tomorrow, 10 April 2020.

Yours sincerely

Phil Lomas | FOI Officer | Secretary's Department  
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA | 65 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
p: +61 2 9551 9744 | e: [RBA request email] | w: www.rba.gov.au

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From: Brett Wilson

Delivered

Dear Mr Lomas,

The internal review was an error made on my behalf, ticking the wrong box on the Right to Know Template, and should be disregarded as it is not an internal review as you suggest.

I request the documents be provided as soon as practicable but in any case not later than the end of the period of 30 days after the day 09 April 2020, on which the clarified request was received by you, and that I am sure you will take all reasonable steps to enable me the applicant, to be notified of a decision on the request sometime within the new 30 day time frame.

Yours sincerely,

Brett Wilson

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From: FOI
Reserve Bank of Australia

Dear Mr Wilson,

 

We have identified documents relevant to your request.

 

Some of them involve parties external to the Bank. In terms of section
[1]27 of the FOI Act, it is necessary for the Bank to consult with these
external parties to see if they might have a contention against release in
terms of section [2]47 or [3]47G.

 

Accordingly, as provided by section [4]15(6) of the FOI Act, the
processing time for your request is extended by a further 30 days.  An
answer to you in relation to your request is therefore now due no later
than Monday 8 June 2020.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Phil Lomas | FOI Officer | Secretary's Department  

RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA | 65 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000

p: +61 2 9551 9744 | e: [RBA request email] | w: www.rba.gov.au

 

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From: FOI
Reserve Bank of Australia


Attachment D17 387680 Information Note Rights to Review of Decisions Made Freedom of Information Act 1982.pdf
99K Download View as HTML

Attachment RBAFOI 192027 Documents for Release.pdf
1008K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Wilson,

 

I refer to your recent request seeking:

documents that detail scientific or medical analysis of the cleanliness or
otherwise of polymer currency, either independently or in comparison to
paper currency, and/or any documents that indicate how long germ agents
can survive on polymer notes and/or be a biohazard to handlers of
banknotes.
I advise that we have identified five documents relevant to your request
and enclose them with this email.

I have decided to release one of them (#1) in full, two of them (#4 and
#5) with redactions made in terms of section [1]33(a)(iii) (international
relations of the Bank) and the remaining two (#2 and #3) redacted for
irrelevant material (email addresses and phone numbers of people referred
to in the documents).

The redactions made in relation to section 33 were appropriate to protect
the international relations of the Bank. The foreign agencies referred to
in the documents advised the Bank that they would regard disclosure of
identifying material about them as damaging to our ongoing relationships.
Note that the redactions have been made only to identifying information
about those foreign contacts (no material of substance in the documents
was removed)..

I enclose a document detailing your rights to review of my decision.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Anthony Dickman | Secretary | Secretary's Department  
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA | 65 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
p: +61 2 9551 9744 | e: [2][RBA request email] | w: [3]www.rba.gov.au

 

From: FOI
Sent: Friday, 24 April 2020 11:05 AM
To: 'Brett Wilson' <[4][FOI #6263 email]>
Subject: RE: RBAFOI-192027 - Wilson, Right to Know - Freedom of
Information request - notification of extension of processing time (for
consultation) [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

 

Dear Mr Wilson,

 

We have identified documents relevant to your request.

 

Some of them involve parties external to the Bank. In terms of section
[5]27 of the FOI Act, it is necessary for the Bank to consult with these
external parties to see if they might have a contention against release in
terms of section [6]47 or [7]47G.

 

Accordingly, as provided by section [8]15(6) of the FOI Act, the
processing time for your request is extended by a further 30 days.  An
answer to you in relation to your request is therefore now due no later
than Monday 8 June 2020.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Phil Lomas | FOI Officer | Secretary's Department  

RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA | 65 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000

p: +61 2 9551 9744 | e: [9][RBA request email] | w: [10]www.rba.gov.au

 

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