Quarterly statistics commentary

Break in series – personal insolvency statistics

From the September quarter 2017, geographic coding of personal insolvency statistics follows a new method. There is also a minor change in the reporting date used for personal insolvency agreements from this quarter. These changes are breaks in series for our statistical publications. For further details see the Guide to personal insolvency statistics.

Quarterly personal insolvency activity in Australia*

* From the September quarter 2017, geographic coding of personal insolvency statistics follows a new method.

Key points

  • Total personal insolvencies in the September quarter 2017 increased by 8.0% compared to the September quarter 2016. All types of personal insolvencies increased:
    • bankruptcies increased by 0.1%
    • debt agreements increased by 17.5%
    • personal insolvency agreements increased by 40.4%. We changed the date used for reporting purposes in the September quarter 2017, which may have affected this movement.
  • There were 4,236 bankruptcies in the September quarter 2017. This is the highest level of bankruptcies in a quarter since the June quarter 2016 (4,512).
  • Debt agreements in the September quarter 2017 are the highest on record at 3,885 for the quarter. This is the ninth consecutive quarter in which debt agreements have increased in year-on-year terms.

Total personal insolvency activity

The total number of personal insolvencies in the September quarter 2017 (8,194) increased by 8.0% compared to the September quarter 2016 (7,590). This year-on-year rise follows a fall of 3.5% in the June quarter 2017. Quarterly total personal insolvencies remain below the historical peaks reached in 2008–09 and 2009–10 (more than 9,000 personal insolvencies).

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

* We implemented a minor change to the reporting dates used for personal insolvency agreements in the September quarter 2017. These are the smallest type of personal insolvencies.

Bankruptcies

The number of bankruptcies entered by debtors was relatively stable in year-on-year terms, increasing by 0.1% in the September quarter 2017 (4,236) compared to the September quarter 2016 (4,231). This follows a 13.8% year-on-year fall in the June quarter 2017. Bankruptcies constituted 51.7% of total personal insolvencies, remaining near the record low of 51.1% set in the June quarter 2017.

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

Debt agreements

The number of debt agreements rose to a record high of 3,885 in the September quarter 2017. That is an increase of 17.5% compared to the level of 3,307 in the September quarter 2016. This is the ninth consecutive quarter in which debt agreements have increased in year-on-year terms.

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

Personal insolvency agreements

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

The number of personal insolvency agreements increased by 40.4% in the September quarter 2017 (73) compared to the September quarter 2016 (52). We changed the date used for reporting purposes in the September quarter 2017, which may have affected this movement.

This is the fifth consecutive quarter in which personal insolvency agreements have increased in year-on-year terms.

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

*We implemented a minor change to the reporting dates used for personal insolvency agreements in the September quarter 2017.