The Commonwealth Treasury has released the report of a three-person panel charged with reviewing the structure, governance, and effectiveness of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Treasurer Jim Chalmers accepted in principle all 51 of the panel’s recommendations, ranging from creating a separate board to make decisions on interest rates, to giving the Bank a simpler dual mandate to pursue both price stability and full employment.
The report represents the most important reconsideration of monetary policy in Australia since the advent of inflation targeting three decades ago. But the “new look” RBA after this review may even do more harm to the economy than in the past. This is because the independent review panel missed the opportunity to question the deeper myths and assumptions regarding the central bank’s infallibility and their ideological bias.
In this report, Centre for Future Work Associate Dr Anis Chowdhury catalogues the assumptions and failures of conventional inflation targeting policy, and the misleading nature of so-called ‘independent’ central banks. He argues the review panel missed an historic opportunity to reconsider those assumptions, and help craft a more balanced and democratic macroeconomic policy framework.