Australians don't want cash

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Australians don’t want cash, judging by the rise in contactless transactions across the country and the slow death of cheques.

And yet we’ve still got around $100 billion in cash on issue around the country (according to the Reserve Bank) -- under beds, in jam tins, in wallets and probably overseas or in plastic wrappers waiting to be washed clean in pubs, clubs and poker machines.

For our criminal classes, holding up armoured cars, banks and other outlets and stealing ATMs no longer seem to be as popular -- there've been few media reports in the past couple of years about these types of crimes.

Our dislike for cash is causing problems for banks, retailers and others running ATM and cash out networks. The cost of transporting the stuff is rising, there’s not enough business for our two big security companies and one doesn’t want to play with the other.

So cash in Australia is on the nose -- but not so among the burglar class of Los Angeles, with police there reporting a US$30 million (around A$44 million) burglary from one of La La Land’s cash repositories on Easter Sunday.

News reports said the gang broke in through the roof, but no one is wiling to say how they cracked the vault and avoided alarm systems.

LA police say the break-in was among the largest burglaries in the city's history when it comes to cash, and the total surpassed any armoured car stick up.

The same reports say staff at the depository didn’t notice anything was amiss until they opened the vault on Monday. These reports also say not many people working at the facility knew there was a cash vault in the building.

The US$30 million take, though, pales beside the US$100 million in jewels and valuables taken from a Brinks armoured truck being transported from a gem and jewellery show.

The robbers struck while one guard slumbered in front of the truck and the other was eating at a truck stop. The thieves struck at 3am and no one has been caught.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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