Rumours of the five cent coin's death have been greatly exaggerated, with treasurer Scott Morrison left red-faced after incorrectly claiming Australia had killed off the little silver echidna.
Reports about the future (or lack thereof) of Australia's smallest coin have swirled for some time, with reports that it costs more than five cents to produce a five cent coin, and the general annoyance felt by many Australians at having to carry around the near-worthless piece. Veteran journalist Malcolm Farr has been peppering the treasurer with questions about the future of the coin, with Morrison either batting away the inquiries or outright refusing to answer.
But he was tripped up on Thursday morning, when he proudly declared that Australia had ceased production of the coin.
"Nobody's asked me about the five cent piece," Morrison joked after the Q&A section of a tax Institute breakfast in Sydney.
"By the way, we don't make them any more. They're still in circulation, but we don't make them any more."
The Huffington Post Australia contacted the treasurer's office for comment, and also the Royal Australian Mint for some more info. Had Australia really ceased producing the smallest of coins?
Well, it appears not.
Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Alex Hawke, told us in a statement that the five cent coin is still being produced, albeit in much smaller numbers than in the past.
"Production of the five cent piece is in sharp decline in-line with falling demand to an eventual phase out. The Government has not made a decision about a final phase out date at this time," he said.
"The current level of production is almost 10 times less than 10 years ago."
Hawke said it now costs 5.061 cents to produce a five cent piece.
The Mint did not respond to our request for comment, but back in February, they told HuffPost Australia that the Mint had produced 58 million five cent coins in 2014.
So, what happened? Did the treasurer slip up, or was it a joke? We're not sure, but the main take-home information is that those annoying little coins will be with you for a while longer.
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