Last month’s post about heading towards a cashless society made me think about two things. Firstly, had the guys from the coffee shop in Spice Alley at Chippendale read it and that’s why they refused to accept my cash a couple of weeks ago? Secondly, what are our laws about cash?

I hadn’t realised that we have the Currency Act (for coins) and the Reserve Bank of Australia Act which governs our bank notes. The Currency Act sets out a schedule (pursuant to s13) of metallurgical and weight requirements for coins as well as providing (in s 16) some limits on legal tender (which don’t apply to bank notes). It is apparently not a legal tender to pay $5 or more with 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins (or a combination of two of them). When we still had 1 and 2 cent coins it wasn’t legal tender to pay 20 cents or more with them.

I was also a little bemused to find that both Acts have tables which set the value of coins (or notes) when decimal currency was introduced. For example a crown is 50 cents, a florin is 20 cents, 10 shillings is one dollar and 1 pound is two dollars etc.

Also just in case you have any non-statute barred debts from before 14 February 1966 (if you are Gen X or younger click here if you don’t understand the date) that are yet to be paid, you can convert them according to the formula in section 8(4):

“The equivalent in the currency provided for by this Act of One sovereign or pound in the currency provided for by the repealed Acts is Two dollars, the like equivalent of One shilling is Ten cents and the like equivalent of One penny is five‑sixths of a cent.”…. plus interest (I assume).

Creative commons acknowledgment for the photograph.

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