New $20 note unveiled with special features to assist vision-impaired Aussies
The Reserve Bank of Australia has unveiled the new $20 note, which has been specially manufactured to assist vision-impaired Aussies to use the currency.
Launching the note today at Vision Australia in Kooyong, the RBA said three raised bumps on each of the long edges of the banknote will allow people who have low vision or are blind to identify the note amongst other Australian currency.
Other features designed to assist the blind include millimetre-specific sizing compared to other denominations and holographic panels designed to catch light as the note is folded.
Chris Edwards, government relations manager at Vision Australia, said the new note will be most welcomed amongst those who currently struggle with the nation's banknotes.
"These tactile features enable the 350,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision to now accurately and easily identify the cash they are handling, like the rest of the community, and that's how it should be," said Mr Edwards.
"Without the tactile marking, many people who are blind or have low vision relied on a mobile phone app or a small device to measure the size of banknotes, which vary by a few millimetres. These solutions are fiddly, time consuming and impractical.
"We commend the RBA for responding to the needs of people who are blind or have low vision and demonstrating that accessibility is not something that should be put in the too hard basket."
RBA assistant governor Lindsay Boulton thanked Australia's blind community who were influential in designing the note.
"As with the $5, $10 and $50 denominations released over the past couple of years, the new $20 banknote has been redesigned," said Ms Boulton.
"The Reserve Bank of Australia is extremely grateful for the assistance and support from the blind and low vision community to improve the accessibility of Australia's banknotes."
Tactile features to assist the blind are just the start of the RBA's overhaul of the note, which has also been given several new security features to avoid counterfeiting.
Among them are a top-to-bottom clear window with a reversing "20" number, tiny microprint with excerpts from The Bushman's Companion by Reverend John Flynn and a rolling colour effect as the note is folded.
The famous faces on the note will remain the same as the previous edition: on one side is Mary Reibey, a female convict who broke social norms to become a businesswoman, and Reverend John Flynn, who started the world's first aerial medical service in 1928, which is now known as the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
As for fauna and flora, the new note features the Acacia Buxifolia (a species of native Australian wattle) and the Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae).
The note will be released into general circulation on October 9. Current $20 bank notes will still be accepted as legal tender after the new variety is released.