Change is needed

Lawson’s Robert Ross has some budget saving measures for the federal government, that he says, make more sense than some of the ones offered up by the Treasurer.

"Their buying power is almost nothing," says Robert Ross of Australia's smallest coins. He is pictured with his coin board showing foreign currencies; many smaller, lighter coins with a higher face value than Australia's.

"Their buying power is almost nothing," says Robert Ross of Australia's smallest coins. He is pictured with his coin board showing foreign currencies; many smaller, lighter coins with a higher face value than Australia's.

The former metal worker believes retiring some of the smaller denominations — such as the 10 cent and the 5 cent piece — is essential because they “almost cost more to make than they are worth”.

“Taxes should be used on hospitals and on public transport, not to be used to make worthless coings that have passed their use -by dates.”

“Coins under a dollar need to be rationalised, made smaller and some removed from circulation,” Mr Ross, 52, said.

“Millions of dollars is going into making worthless coins.”

He’s been on a coin campaign since 2009, but re-issued his concerns last Wednesday on the 30th anniversary of the $1 note’s retirement and following the federal budget. He’d like cheaper metals used and to see the $5 and $10 notes become small coins. “What would you rather – a $5 coin or a sick tax?” he said.

Mr Ross’s lengthy letter writing campaign has come up empty handed from the Mint, which has no plans to change the coins, and numerous politicians including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former Greens leader, Bob Brown.

His local MP Louise Markus was also uninterested when he approached her on election day, but he admits he was wearing a campaign T-shirt for Labor hopeful Susan Templeman at the time.

“There’s so much buck passing, no-one wants to change it.”

“In 1968 you got a schooner of beer for 20 cents, now it’s $5 — and I got into the Royal Easter Show for 40 cents... it’s all bloody worthless now.”

His coin obsession started at 10 when his merchant seaman Dad brought coins home. That love of coins continued while he worked at Garden Island, where he found plenty of coins on foreign ships. He’s gathering signatures for a petition but needs help mounting a larger campaign. Those interested can text him at 0403 980239.

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