21 February 2015

Address to the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra

Thank you, Adam.

I would like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of the land we stand upon here today.

I would like to welcome my colleagues Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, and the ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr.

I would like to thank the Royal Australian Mint CEO Mr Ross MacDiarmid for inviting me to join you celebrating this milestone.

And of course, to the people who made it all happen, the current and former staff of the Royal Australian Mint – happy birthday!

This evening we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Royal Australian Mint.

Fittingly for a Mint, that’s the Golden Anniversary!

The Royal Australian Mint was officially opened on 22 February 1965 – fifty years ago tomorrow – by His Royal Highness Prince Philip along with Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies and Federal Treasurer Harold Holt.

I find it very fitting that I stand here tonight 50 years after Harold Holt, the first Member for Higgins addressed the original Mint family.

The job the Mint was tasked with was to create an entirely new system of coins for Australia in time for the introduction of Decimal Currency just a year later on 14 February 1966.

Next year will mark 50 years of decimal currency and another major anniversary for all Australians.

But tonight is about you – a celebration for those who have worked to create the coins of our nation, to capture our stories and milestones on those coins and to create a record of Australian society through our coinage.

And what a job you have done.

Since 1965, you have created almost 15 billion circulating coins.

And unlike most manufacturing companies, these coins are used by almost everyone in the country at some point almost every day.

Your efforts have delivered this country a fine coinage system, beautiful coins and contributed to the functioning of the Australian economy with billions worth of seigniorage over the past fifty years.

For half a century you have been the caretakers of Australia’s coinage.

And for half a century you have become chroniclers of Australian society, sharing through our coins the events, people and subjects which mean the most to us as a community.

A role that is so important for the past, present and future of Australian story-telling.

Today you continue to play a most important role in marking important national events and milestones.

We are seeing this very clearly now with the Official Anzac Centenary Coin Program.

As we reflect upon the First World War and its impact, both on the lives of past Australians and their families, and our nation’s identity, the Mint is playing its own important role by providing a tangible and meaningful memento for someone to continue to share these stories with others for years to come.

Not only does the Mint play a vital role in our National coinage system, but it produces prestigious Australian medals and awards to help the nation acknowledge those working to protect our fellow Australians and make our country a better place.

And of course, the Mint plays an important role in producing highly sought after collector coins for those passionate about coins and collecting coins – of which I’m sure there are many here tonight!

Whilst the Royal Australian Mint is a new responsibility of mine, I have already recognised just how passionate the Mint’s staff are.

You all being here this evening shows just that.

I would like to acknowledge Wayne Hennock, the longest serving current member of the Mint family, who has been at the Mint for 39 years, and Jack Crosbie, the oldest person in the room who worked at the Melbourne Mint from 1942 before transferring to the Royal Australian Mint.

I look forward to working with you to continue the story of the Royal Australian Mint.

There’s no doubt that the Mint will continue to play an important role in our national

Thank you for your dedication and commitment – and happy 50th anniversary!