Quarterly statistics commentary

Key points

  • Total personal insolvencies increased by 0.9% in the December quarter 2016 compared to the December quarter 2015. By type of personal insolvency:
    • bankruptcies fell by 4.9%
    • debt agreements increased by 9.5%
    • personal insolvency agreements increased by 4.9%.
  • Western Australia (26.2%), Australian Capital Territory (14.8%) and Queensland (0.7%) were the only states or territories where personal insolvencies increased in the December quarter 2016 compared to the December quarter 2015.
  • Debt agreements in the December quarter 2016 are the fourth highest on record, with 3,036 debt agreements. The highest on record was in the June quarter 2016 (3,329 debt agreements).
  • Debt agreements reached a record high in South Australia in the December quarter 2016.

Total personal insolvency activity                               

The number of personal insolvencies increased by 0.9% in the December quarter 2016 (7,055) compared to the December quarter 2015 (6,994), but fell by 7.0% compared to the September quarter 2016 (7,590).

The rise in personal insolvencies in the December quarter 2016 compared to the December quarter 2015 was the result of increases in:

  • Western Australia (26.2%)
  • Australian Capital Territory (14.8%)
  • Queensland (0.7%).

These were offset by falls in:

  • Northern Territory (-13.9%)
  • Tasmania (-6.5%)
  • New South Wales (-5.1%)
  • South Australia (-1.4%)
  • Victoria (-0.1%).

The rise in personal insolvencies in the December quarter 2016 is the seventh consecutive year-on-year rise. However, the level of personal insolvencies has remained below the peaks reached in 2008–09 and 2009–10.

Total personal insolvency activity in Australia: % change compared to same quarter in previous year

Bankruptcies

The number of bankruptcies fell by 4.9% in the December quarter 2016 (3,976) compared to the December quarter 2015 (4,181), and also fell by 6.0% compared to the September quarter 2016 (4,231).

The fall in bankruptcies in the December quarter 2016 compared to the December quarter 2015 was the result of decreases in:

  • Tasmania (-28.5%)
  • New South Wales (-12.5%)
  • Northern Territory (-10.0%)
  • South Australia (-7.7%)
  • Queensland (-3.6%)
  • Victoria (-2.6%).

These were offset by increases in:

  • Australian Capital Territory (51.5%)
  • Western Australia (15.7%).

The fall in bankruptcies to the December quarter 2016 is the second consecutive year-on-year fall.

Bankruptcies in Australia: % change compared to same quarter in previous year

Debt agreements

The number of debt agreements increased by 9.5% in the December quarter 2016 (3,036) compared to the December quarter 2015 (2,772), but fell by 8.2% compared to the September quarter 2016 (3,307).

The rise in debt agreements in the December quarter 2016 compared to the December quarter 2015 was the result of increases in:

  • Tasmania (55.6%)
  • Western Australia (39.1%)
  • South Australia (13.0%)
  • Queensland (7.6%)
  • New South Wales (6.0%)
  • Victoria (3.2%).

These were offset by decreases in:

  • Northern Territory (-18.4%)
  • Australian Capital Territory (-10.4%).

The increase in debt agreements in the December quarter 2016 is the sixth consecutive year-on-year rise.

Debt agreements in Australia: % change compared to same quarter in previous year

Personal insolvency agreements

Quarterly personal insolvency agreement levels fluctuate more than those of bankruptcies and debt agreements as the numbers are relatively small.

The number of personal insolvency agreements increased by 4.9% in the December quarter 2016 (43) compared to the December quarter 2015 (41), but fell by 17.3% compared to the September quarter 2016 (52).

The rise in personal insolvency agreements in the December quarter 2016 compared to the December quarter 2015 was the result of increases in:

  • Western Australia (175.0%)
  • Victoria (50.0%)
  • Northern Territory (increased from zero personal insolvency agreements to one).

These were offset by decreases in:

  • New South Wales (-41.7%)
  • Queensland (-28.6%)
  • Tasmania (fell from one to zero personal insolvency agreements).

There was no change in the number of personal insolvency agreements in Australian Capital Territory or South Australia.

The rise in personal insolvency agreements is the second consecutive year-on-year rise.

Personal insolvency agreements in Australia: % change compared to same quarter in previous year