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Daniel Moss

What’s Behind the Push to Review Australia’s Central Bank?

Australia’s economic record was the envy of the world. That hasn’t stopped calls for the first evaluation of the central bank in decades. 

The RBA needs to do better.

The RBA needs to do better.

Photographer: David Gray/Bloomberg

The Reserve Bank of Australia presided over three decades of growth before Covid-19 tripped up the global expansion. The central bank is having a good recovery, too, with employment strong and inflation behaving. The reward for this performance: Widespread calls for change in the way the authority looks, sounds and does business.

The idea that the RBA should be subjected to fresh scrutiny has floated around the periphery of monetary debates Down Under for a while, but gained momentum in the second half of last year. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Monetary Fund recommended a review. The opposition Australian Labor Party — ahead in polls with an election in the coming months — wants one. Jim Chalmers, Labor’s top economics spokesman, says he favors a look at “goals and objectives, tools and levers, processes and public commentary.” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg from the ruling center-right bloc backs an examination after the election, he told the Australian Financial Review on Monday.  No matter who wins, change is coming.