Personal bankruptcies on the rise, say new federal government figures

NEWCASTLE and Wyong feature heavily in personal bankruptcy figures that show bankruptcies across the country are growing at a rate of almost six per cent a year, well above our population growth of under two per cent.

June quarter figures released this week by the federal government’s Australian Financial Security Authority show Wyong topping the personal insolvency table with 89 people, followed by Penrith with 78 and Campbelltown with 71.

Wyong is classified by the authority as part of greater Sydney. Outside of Sydney, Newcastle had the most bankruptcies with 49, followed by East Lake Macquarie with 46 and Shoalhaven with 44.

Looking nationally, the authority counted 31,859 new personal insolvencies in Australia in the financial year ended June 30.

This was an increase of 5.6 per cent on the previous year. Personal bankruptcies have risen for three years in a row, but the authority says the numbers remain below the record set after the global financial crisis, when 36,539 Australians were declared insolvent in 2009-10.

Looked at in percentage terms, the Wyong figures are well above the state average, whereas the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie figures are more in line with the bulk of the state.

In the June quarter, NSW had 2403 personal debtors in an over-18s population of 5.82 million people, an average rate of 0.041 per cent or 41 insolvencies for every 1000 people. The greater Sydney rate was 38 per 1000 people and the regional NSW rate 46 per 1000.

Wyong’s June quarter insolvencies were at a rate of 72 per 1000 people, Newcastle’s 37 per 1000 and East Lake Macquarie’s 49 per 1000 people.

The statistics show males consistently account for between 55 per cent and 60 per cent of personal insolvencies. The age profile is also consistent, with 17-34-year-olds accounting for about 35 per cent of insolvencies. Those aged 35 to 49 account for 40 per cent, with 50-to-65-year-olds making up 20 per cent of the number.

Just 5 per cent of personal insolvencies involve people over 64 years of age.

For non-business debtors, one in three bankrupts blame excessive borrowing, followed by unemployment or income loss and domestic discord or relationship breakdown. Business debtors mostly blame economic conditions for their situation.

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