Quarterly statistics commentary

Quarterly personal insolvency activity in Australia

Key points

  • Total personal insolvencies decreased by 3.5% in the June quarter 2017 compared to the June quarter 2016. This decrease was limited entirely to the bankruptcies category, which fell by 13.8%. Otherwise:
    • debt agreements increased by 10.2%
    • personal insolvency agreements increased by 11.5%.
  • There were 3,888 bankruptcies in the June quarter 2017. This is the lowest level of bankruptcies in a quarter since the June quarter 2014 (3,857).
  • Debt agreements in the June quarter 2017 are the highest on record at 3,670 for the quarter. Debt agreements reached record highs in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

Total personal insolvency activity

The number of new personal insolvencies in the June quarter 2017 (7,616) decreased by 3.5% compared to the June quarter 2016 (7,893). This year-on-year fall is the first since March quarter 2015 and follows a rise of 10.8% in the March quarter 2017.

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

 The year-on-year fall in total personal insolvencies in the June quarter 2017 for Australia was the result of falls in:

  • New South Wales (-7.1%)
  • Australian Capital Territory (-13.6%)
  • Victoria (-3.7%)
  • Queensland (-6.2%)
  • Tasmania (-4.2%).

The falls were offset by rises in:

  • South Australia (12.6%)
  • Northern Territory (37.9% from a relatively small base of 58 personal insolvencies)
  • Western Australia (4.9%).

Quarterly total personal insolvencies remain well below the historical peaks reached in 2008–09 and 2009–10 (above 9,000 personal insolvencies).

Bankruptcies

The number of bankruptcies decreased by 13.8% in the June quarter 2017 (3,888) compared to the June quarter 2016 (4,512). Bankruptcies as a proportion of total personal insolvencies reached a record low of 51.1% in the June quarter 2017.

Of the Australian states and territories, only Northern Territory experienced an increase in bankruptcies in the June quarter 2017 (of nine bankruptcies, or 39.1%) compared to the June quarter 2016. There were decreases in the other states and territories:

  • New South Wales (-16.6%)
  • Australian Capital Territory (-11.4%)
  • Victoria (-11.5%)
  • Queensland (-19.8%)
  • South Australia (-5.4%)
  • Western Australia (-1.5%)
  • Tasmania (-14.2%).

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

Debt agreements

In contrast to the decrease in bankruptcies, the number of debt agreements increased by 10.2% in the June quarter 2017 (3,670) compared to the June quarter 2016 (3,329). Debt agreements in the June quarter 2017 are the highest on record both by number and proportion of total personal insolvencies (48.2%). The year-on-year increase in debt agreements in the June quarter 2017 is the eighth in succession.

The rise in debt agreements in the June quarter 2017 compared to the June quarter 2016 was the result of increases in most states and territories:

  • New South Wales (5.0%)
  • Victoria (8.3%)
  • Queensland (11.5%)
  • South Australia (52.7%)
  • Northern Territory (34.3%)
  • Western Australia (11.1%)
  • Tasmania (13.7%).

The only decrease was in Australian Capital Territory (-15.5%).

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 11.5% in the June quarter 2017 (58) compared to the June quarter 2016 (52).

The rise in personal insolvency agreements in the June quarter 2017 compared to the June quarter 2016 was the result of increases in:

  • Queensland (88.9%)
  • South Australia (100.0%, from two personal insolvency agreements in the June quarter 2016)
  • Western Australia (88.9%)
  • Northern Territory (increased to one personal insolvency agreement, from zero in the June quarter 2016).

These increases were offset by decreases in:

  • New South Wales (-23.1%)
  • Victoria (-53.3%)
  • Tasmania (-66.7%, from three personal insolvency agreements in the June quarter 2016).

The year-on-year increase in personal insolvency agreements is the fourth in succession.

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