Aussie bankruptcies hit 24 year low

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on May 09, 2019
Aussie bankruptcies hit 24 year low

Photo by Bailey Mahon on Unsplash

Despite record high levels of household debt and mortgage stress in Australia, fewer Australians are filing for personal bankruptcy.

Figures released today by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) reveal the March 2019 quarter had the smallest quarterly number of bankruptcies in 24 years.

There were 3,765 bankruptcies across the nation over the three months, which is the smallest number since the March 1995 quarter.

It was also down 9.2% on the March 2018 quarter and 0.6% down on the December 2018 quarter.

AFSA reported there were falls in the number bankruptcies in all states and territories except the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Queensland recorded the highest number of personal bankruptcies with 1,103, although it also recorded one of the biggest annual falls.

Bankruptcies in the Sunshine State were down 12.6% from the March 2018 quarter, with 159 fewer.

State Bankruptcies (March quarter 2019) Bankruptcies (March quarter 2018) % change
NSW 1,037 1,141 -9.1%
ACT 40 36 11.1%
Vic 635 707 -10.2%
Qld 1,103 1,262 -12.6%
SA 268 272 -1.5%
NT 39 40 -2.5%
WA 542 545 -0.6%
Tas 75 120 -37.5%
Other 27 25 8.0%
Total 3,765 4,148 -9.2%

Source: AFSA

The incidences of another type of personal insolvency – debt agreements – was also down significantly.

The national number of debt agreements over the quarter was 2,552 – down 31.5% from the same period in 2018.

AFSA reported this was the smallest quarterly number of debt agreements since the September 2013 quarter, with falls recorded in all states and territories.

Another type, personal insolvency agreements, were up 48.6% annually, although the numbers for this type of insolvency are relatively small, with only 55 in the March 2019 quarter (up from 37).

According to AFSA, “debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements are legally binding agreements for somebody who is insolvent to pay their creditors an agreed amount”.

Source: AFSA (youtube)

Total personal insolvencies for the quarter, which includes all three types (bankruptcies, debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements), was 6,372 – down 19.4% across the nation compared to the March 2018 quarter.

This was the lowest number since the December 2005 quarter.

Business-related personal insolvencies accounted for 18% of this total number, with Western Australia accounting for the highest proportion.

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Dominic Beattie is the Editor of He has been publishing articles on finance, business and economics since 2015, having previously worked at financial research firm and comparison site Canstar before helping to launch in November 2018. Dominic's commentary has featured in various news outlets, including: Channel 7 News,, Yahoo Finance Australia, Domain,, Daily Mail and Radio 2NURFM.


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