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RBA’s $18,000 dinner before rate rise

RBA ECONOMICS COMMITTEE
The RBA spent $13,700 on food and nearly $4000 on alcohol for a ‘special’ event in November. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman

The Reserve Bank of Australia is under fire for spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on food and booze while the nation grappled with a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

Freedom of information documents showed the central bank spent $13,700 on food and nearly $4000 on alcohol for board dinner in Hobart, just hours before it increased cash rates for the seventh time.

Guests sipped on glasses of $68-per-bottle Freycinet Louis chardonnay and pinot noir, receipts show.

The RBA then spent $11,400 for a governors’ meeting held at the Lagoon Suite at the beachfront Ramada resort in Vanuatu, held under the theme “Rebuilding Our Economies Post Covid”.

RBA ECONOMICS COMMITTEE
RBA governor Philip Lowe told a committee hearing in August that further interest rate increases were ‘possible’. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman
The Reserve Bank of Australia is under fire after reports showed executives spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on food and booze in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. Internal emails released under Freedom of Information showed the central bank splashed out $13,000 on food and nearly $4000 on alcohol for a board dinner in Hobart in November last year. This came before the bank hiked the official cash rate to 3.10 per cent in December.
Receipts show the RBA shelled out big bucks for a board lunch in November.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is under fire after reports showed executives spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on food and booze in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. Internal emails released under Freedom of Information showed the central bank splashed out $13,000 on food and nearly $4000 on alcohol for a board dinner in Hobart in November last year. This came before the bank hiked the official cash rate to 3.10 per cent in December.
Bank executives and guests were offered a fine selection of alcoholic beverages.

Days after the RBA announced a 3.10 per cent interest rate rise in December, the bank held its annual Christmas party, where guests enjoyed kingfish ceviche, lamb cutlets and potato gnocchi.

Back-and-forth emails show executives considering a photo booth with “funny hats” to “add a bit of variety from the party in August”, a move eventually decided against.

“Seems like everyone is very much back into the swing of things like it is 2019!” an RBA staff member wrote in an email to an organiser.

When asked about the documents on Monday, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said public institutions should be “careful” with the way they spend their money.

“One of the changes that Jim Chalmers has proposed to when it comes to the Reserve Bank is that it should be more transparent and should give regular press conferences, for example, to explain the decisions it’s making to Australians,” Ms Plibersek said.

COST of LIVING
Australia is in the depths of a cost-of-living crisis. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper

The RBA also attracted backlash in June after reports showed it spent nearly $25,000 on an exclusive 30-person dinner in May after raising the cash rate for the 11th time.

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce said he had “no problems” with the bank splashing out on lunches and dinners, as long as it was upfront about it.

“If you are spending on a $4000 grog bill and a $13,000 food bill, then make sure you put it out into the papers the next day,” Mr Joyce said on Monday.

“We are not that stupid. They are a professional organisation.”

Australia’s interest rate of 4.1 per cent sits at its highest level since 2012 despite the RBA pausing its regular hikes in August.

New ABS data shows that a record number of Australians are working more than one job to keep up with surging living costs, with levels of mortgage stress at their highest since 2008.