New $20 note gets updated look and touch for vision impaired

Caroline Schelle and Christine McGinn
(Australian Associated Press)


Australia has a new-look ‘lobster’ and it feels different too.

The red $20 note has a tactile feature making it more easily identifiable for vision-impaired users.

Unveiled at Vision Australia in Melbourne on Tuesday, the bank note is the fourth piece of Aussie currency to include the ‘touch’ feature, joining the $5, $10 and $50 notes already in circulation.

“These tactile features enable the 350,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision to accurately and easily identify the cash they are handling, like the rest of the community,” Vision Australia government relations manager Chris Edwards said.

The $20 note has three raised bumps along the long edges to distinguish it from other denominations.

“Before the tactile feature, there was no real easy way to identify a note,” Mr Edwards said, adding the best option previously had been to feel for the different size of notes.

“But now when I’ve got one note or two notes in my wallet, you can actually just pull it out and go, ‘OK’, and feel confident about handing it over.”

While the note has had a facelift, the portraits of two significant Australians remain.

Ex-convict, entrepreneur and philanthropist Mary Reibey presides over the front of the note and the Reverend John Flynn, who set up the Royal Flying Doctor Service, is on the rear.

The mint has printed 140 million new $20 notes to replace the older version, which is expected to take a couple of years to leave circulation.

The note will begin distribution on October 9.


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