Bankruptcies fall - but still above state average

WARRNAMBOOL has more people officially bankrupt than almost the whole of the rest of south-west Victoria.

Personal insolvency figures released by the Australian Financial Security Authority show 28 bankrupts in Warrnambool last financial year compared with 32 for 2011-12.

It equates to one in every 813 adults in the city — higher than the state average of 1 in 963. 

There were also eight people classed as debt agreement debtors. 

Portland was also worse than state average with 19 bankrupts, up from 13 a year earlier, and five debt agreement debtors.

Colac had 10 bankrupts — almost twice as many as the previous financial year, and three debt agreement debtors. 

Its neighbouring town of Alvie also had a steep rise in bankrupts posting seven for the year, which took it well above state average.

There were three bankrupts in the 3266 postcode district which includes Cobden and Simpson and four in the 3277 postcode area of Allansford, Mepunga and Naringal.

In Hamilton there were only four bankrupts last financial year compared with 12 a year earlier.

Casterton had three debt agreement debtors, putting it among the top three postcode areas with the highest proportion of  insolvency among the adult population.

South-west rural financial counsellor Vince Thorne said he had noticed a distinct increase in financial pressure on farming communities.

“It stems back to a number of years in which the farm debt was growing,” he said.

Bankrupts’ details remain on the national personal insolvency index. They must surrender their passport and need to disclose it when applying for credit and abide by numerous other obligations. 

Their financial affairs are administered by a registered trustee.

Debt agreements are for people with unmanageable debt and an alternative to bankruptcy.  

Debtors are released from most of their debts when they complete all payments and obligations under the agreement.

Greater Melbourne had the state’s highest number and proportion of bankrupts with a total of 3045 people.

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