Australia’s 5 cent coin. Photo: Danielle SmithWhat to do with your 5¢ pieces
Fear not, shrapnel-lovers: Australia is still making 5¢ coins, despite what Treasurer Scott Morrison thinks.
Nay-sayers have long felt the country’s least-valuable tender should be done away with – it’s annoying, it’s largely useless and at times it has actually cost more to make than it is worth.
Indeed, Mr Morrison mistakenly believed the coin had already been dumped. “No one asked me about the 5¢ piece! By the way – we don’t make them anymore, they’re still in circulation,” he said on Thursday, following a post-budget address to tax experts.
That was news to the Royal Australian Mint, however. “We are still making 5¢ coins,” a spokeswoman told Fairfax Media.
And Mr Morrison’s assistant minister, Alex Hawke, later confirmed that while production was in decline, it was by no means finished.
“Production of the 5¢ piece is in sharp decline in-line with falling demand to an eventual phase out,” Mr Hawke said. “The government has not made a decision about a final phase out date at this time.”
He said it currently costs 5.061¢ to produce the 5¢ piece. But the cost varies depending on metal prices and has previously risen as high as 7¢.
The currency was improbably lobbed back into the public consciousness during Mr Morrison’s National Press Club address on Wednesday, when a News Corp journalist asked him why the 5¢ coin had not been abolished.
But the Treasurer was in no mood to joke around in the middle of his budget sales tour.
“If you can get as many people as in this room again who are interested in that topic, I’ll answer your question,” Mr Morrison batted back bluntly. “I mean, I’ll take it up with the Reserve Bank governor. Why don’t we get some questions on the budget?”
The last legal tender to be phased out in Australia were the 1¢ and 2¢ coins in 1992.
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