Bankruptcies and debt agreements hit highs

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More Australians are struggling to manage debt, mortgage stress and financial hardship, with the number of bankruptcies and debt agreements around the country increasing over the past three months.

New figures from the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) show 8194 new personal insolvencies over 2017’s September quarter – an 8% increase on the same time last year (7590). This year-on-year rise follows a fall of 3.5% in the June 2017 quarter.

The September 2017 quarter’s personal insolvencies were made up of the following:

  • Bankruptcies increased by 0.1% to 4236 – the highest level since the 4512 recorded the June 2016 quarter.
  • Debt agreements increased by 17.5% to a record high of 3885
  • Personal insolvency agreements increased by 40.4% to 73

According to AFSA, September 2017 is the ninth consecutive quarter where debt agreements have increased in year on year terms.

It’s not just individuals who are struggling in the current economy, but businesses as well, with 16.1% of debtors entering a business-related personal insolvency in the September 2017 quarter – a 0.1% increase on September 2016. The two most commonly recorded business related causes for these insolvencies were economic conditions (382 debtors) and excessive use of credit (2727 debtors).

Despite the recent increase in personal insolvencies, the figures remain below the historical peaks recorded between 2008 and 2010, which saw over 9000 personal insolvencies.

State/Territory Bankruptcies (Parts IV and XI) Debt Agreements (Part IX) Personal insolvency agreements (Part X) Total personal insolvency activity
NSW 1085 1053 15 2153
ACT 47 41 2 90
VIC 837 681 11 1529
QLD 1297 1112 20 2429
SA 298 206 6 510
NT 41 48 2 91
WA 480 507 14 1001
TAS 122 92 2 216
Other* 29 145 1 175
TOTAL 4236 3885 73 8194

Source: AFSA

*State/territory “Other” includes records where no address is stated or where the stated address is not in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

If you’re struggling with financial hardship, contact the Australian government’s National Debt Hotline on 1800 007 007.


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