New restrictions on cash transactions may be coming into effect after the government released the draft Currency (Restrictions of the Use of Cash) Bill 2019, which proposed to make it an offence to make or accept cash payments of $10,000 or more.

The bill proposes that people using cash above the $10,000 limit could face a two-year jail sentence and fines up to $25,200. There are, however, transactions that are to be exempt from the cash payment limit, including:

  • Payments related to personal or private transactions, excluding real property transactions.
  • Payments that exceed the cash payment limit due to the payment also including an amount in digital currency.
  • Payments that only exceed the cash limit due to the payment being part of a transaction involving cash in transit providers, where the payment results in collecting, holding or delivering cash.
  • Payments, where there are no reasonably available non-cash payment methods and the inability to use a non-cash payment method was not a choice by either party involved in the transaction.

The bill was originally set to be enacted on 1 January 2020, however, after a flood of community objections, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee has agreed to hold a public hearing on 30 January 2020. The committee has opened an inquiry accepting concerns from Australians and plans to report back by 7 February 2020.