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Dow Jones Newswires: RBA board members may face calls for added transparency

SYDNEY — The Reserve Bank of Australia’s board could be in for a significant shake-up, with a review set to examine whether the comments and voting patterns of policy makers at monthly meetings should be made public.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers initiated an independent review of the central bank in July, appointing a three-person panel of independent experts. The panel will report its findings in March next year.

An issues paper published Thursday included the idea that the contributions and comments of all nine board members at policy meetings should be revealed in published minutes.

The current practice is to publish board minutes two weeks after each monthly meeting. They currently include no individual attributions, and there is no recorded vote.

“While this is comparable to many overseas central banks, others have opted to publish voting history for individual board members,” the paper said.

“Another approach is to acknowledge opposing views where they exist in the minutes, but without individual attribution,” it added.

The RBA board currently includes the governor, the deputy governor and the secretary of the treasury, with the six remaining members coming from business or academia.

The business representatives on the board act in relative anonymity, with public messaging being undertaken by the governor and deputy governor. These representatives never give speeches on the economy, and largely avoid media attention.

The far-reaching review will include an examination of the objectives of the RBA in areas such as currency stability, and achieving full employment.

The appropriateness of the RBA’s 2% to 3% inflation target, and the interaction of monetary and fiscal policy, will also be key areas of discussion.

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