House of Representatives Committees

House Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration
Committee activities (inquiries and reports)

Review of the Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report 2004(Second Report)

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September 2005

© Commonwealth of Australia 2005
ISBN 0 642 786631


Membership of the Committee
Terms of reference
List of abbreviations


The committee’s August 2005 public hearing with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA and the Bank) was the second meeting for the House Economics Committee in the 41 st parliament. The RBA continued to report on a healthy economy which is in its fourteenth year of continuous growth. Earlier in the year, the RBA was concerned about the economy over-heating and responded by raising rates in March 2005. At the August hearing, the Bank reported on an economy where the risks are now balanced rather than being on the up side.

The August hearing came at a time when interest rates had risen by 25 basis points in March which ended a 15 month period of no changes to official rates. While there was much speculation surrounding the February hearing regarding an imminent rise in rates the August hearing did not attract similar speculation; on the contrary, many media commentators were predicting a period of no further upward movement with some even suggesting rates may fall before the end of the year. Where interest rates will be at the end of the year and forecasts for inflation were central to the discussions. Other issues examined at the hearing included the relationship between housing prices and household expenditure, the prospects for the global economy and what steps have been taken to address some of the capacity constraints. The committee also sought an update on the reform agenda of the payments system.

The evidence given at the hearing enabled the committee to examine further the setting of monetary policy as well as discuss other aspects of the economy not directly under the control of the RBA.

The hearing continued to provide the community, financial sector, and the media with a valuable opportunity to monitor the way in which the Bank conducts monetary policy in Australia.

At the hearing, the committee welcomed school students and their teachers from the Melbourne metropolitan area. It was gratifying to see students of economics taking an interest in monetary policy and the role of the Reserve Bank.

On behalf of the committee, I thank the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Mr Ian Macfarlane, for his discussion and for the contribution of his staff. The committee also appreciates the pre hearing briefings from Dr Alan Oster from the National Australia Bank and Mr Bill Evans from Westpac. I also appreciate the hard work of the Deputy Chair Chris Bowen and our fellow committee members and that of our secretariat staff and advisers.


The Hon Bruce Baird MP


Membership of the Committee


The Hon Bruce Baird MP


Deputy Chair

Mr Chris Bowen MP



Mr Steven Ciobo MP

Mr Joel Fitzgibbon MP

Ms Sharon Grierson MP

Mr Stewart McArthur MP


Mr Andrew Robb AO, MP

The Hon Alex Somlyay MP

Mr Lindsay Tanner MP

Mr Malcolm Turnbull MP

Committee Secretariat

A/g Committee secretary

Mr Peter Keele


Mr David Richardson

Administrative officer

Ms Natasha Petrovic

Terms of Reference

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration is empowered to inquire into, and report on the annual reports of government departments and authorities tabled in the House that stand referred to the committee for any inquiry the committee may wish to make. The reports stand referred in accordance with the schedule tabled by the Speaker to record the areas of responsibility of the committee.

The focus of the hearing was on the following documents:

List of abbreviations


Australian Bureau of Statistics



Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Australian Industry Group



Australian Stock Exchange

Automatic Teller Machine


Current Account Deficit


Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale



Gross Domestic Product

Gross National Expenditure



Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

Payments System Board


American dollars

RBA or the Bank

Reserve Bank of Australia


Trade Weighted Index



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