What You Should Know About Debt Agreements

Most Australians encounter financial headaches during their lifetime, and this is often regarded as a standard fluctuation in our finances. But what if you’re not able to work through these challenges yourself, but at the same time, you don’t want to file for bankruptcy?


Debt consolidation loans are a common solution that relieves individuals of financial strain by consolidating all their current debts into one easy to manage loan that’s payable monthly. On the other hand, debt agreements are another option available to people in financial distress, and this will be the focus of today’s article.


What is a debt agreement?

A debt agreement is fundamentally a legal contract between you and your creditors which comprises Part IX of the Bankruptcy Act 1966. Under this agreement, your financial institutions allow you to repay a sum of money that you can afford, over an arranged time frame, to settle your debts.


It is essential to note, however, that entering a debt agreement is an ‘act of bankruptcy’ and has long-term financial consequences which may have an effect on your ability to obtain credit down the track. Consequently, it’s strongly recommended that individuals seek independent financial advice before making this decision to make sure this is the best option for their financial circumstances and they clearly understand the repercussions of such agreements.


Prior to entering a debt agreement

There are several things one should consider before entering into a debt agreement. Reaching out to your creditors about your financial position is always the first step you should take to try to work out your debts outside of a debt agreement. Have you spoken with your creditors and asked them for additional time to settle your debt? Have you already tried to work out a repayment plan or a smaller payment to repay your debt?


What types of debts are included in debt agreements?

Debt agreements are designed to help low income earners who are not able to pay unsecured debts. Not all kinds of debt are covered in debt agreements, such as the following:

  •  Secured debt – for instance home loans where the property can be sold to recover money
  •  Joint debt – if you have a joint debt with your partner, financial institutions can demand that your partner repays the full amount if you’re unable to
  •  Foreign debt
  •  Other debts – such as debts incurred by student HECS or HELP debts, fraud, child support, and court fines


Are you entitled to enter a debt agreement?

To ascertain if you are qualified, simply visit the Australian Financial Security Authority’s (AFSA) website (https://www.afsa.gov.au/insolvency/i-cant-pay-my-debts/am-i-eligible-debt-agreement).


If you decide that a debt agreement is the best alternative for you, a debt agreement administrator will assist you with your debt agreement proposals, based upon what you can afford, and send this proposal to each of your lenders. If your creditors accept the terms of your agreement, then your debt agreement will start, for example, paying 90% of your debts to creditors over a 3-year time frame.


Drawbacks of debt agreements

As stated earlier, debt agreements are an ‘act of bankruptcy’ and consequently there are severe repercussions one must contemplate.

  •  If your lenders refuse your debt agreement proposal, they can make an application to the courts for involuntary bankruptcy
  •  Your name will appear on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) for 5 years from the date of your agreement, or 2 years after the end date, whichever is later
  •  Your debt agreement will be mentioned on your credit report for up to five years, or longer in some circumstances
  •  You are legally obliged to notify a new creditor of your debt agreement when acquiring a loan over $5,703.
  •  If you own a company trading under another name, you are legally obliged to disclose your debt agreement to anybody who deals with your business.
  •  If your job belongs to a regulated profession or a position of trust, it may affect your employment.


Decide on your debt agreement administrator carefully.

Debt agreement administrators play a vital role in the success of your debt agreement, so always choose an administrator that is registered with AFSA’s list of registered debt agreement administrators. Prices also vary widely between administrators, so always examine the payment terms prior to making any decisions.


If you’re still unsure if a debt agreement is the right alternative for you, contact Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575 who can give you the right advice, the first time. For more details, visit www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au.


Tips on How to Address Your Financial Problems

There’s no doubt that financial problems can bring about a lot of anxiety in our lives. Constantly thinking about how you’re going to pay your bills not only makes you apprehensive, but also places stress on your relationships, your family, and your well-being. The fact is, stressing over money isn’t going to fix your financial challenges. If you’ve found yourself in a position where you’re struggling to make ends meet, here are the best ways to address your financial challenges so you can live a worry-free life again.


List your monthly costs

The first step in resolving your financial problems is identify exactly where your pain points are. Regardless if you’re dealing with a large credit card debt, you’re trying to boost your retirement savings, or you merely spend too much on eating out throughout the week, pinpointing the main causes of your financial woes will reveal to you which expenditures must be prioritised so you can get your finances back on track. Grab a pen and paper and document your current monthly expenditures including debt repayments, bills, food, transport, tuition, and any other items you generally spend every month.


Cut back on your expenditures

Once you’ve got your monthly expenses in front of you, take a closer look and examine which expenses can be minimised and which can be cut out altogether. Although your mortgage repayments naturally can’t be reduced, you can probably decrease your food bill by only eating at home and even remove other entertainment expenses such as cable television. It’s critical that you are pragmatic about reducing your expenses. Always remember, if you’re dealing with financial troubles then you must make sacrifices to resolve them.


Create a budget

Now that you’ve got your monthly expenditures documented without the unnecessary spending, you have to develop a budget. If you’re not familiar with making a budget, there are loads of fantastic apps you can download on your smartphone. Personally, I’ve found the Budget Planning app from ASIC to be very practical: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-apps/budget-planner.


This will enable you to determine how much money you have left each month by viewing your income and expenses. It’s critical that you stick your budget. If you sense that it could be too hard to do this, add a miscellaneous item to your budget to give you some room to breathe, or perhaps a motivation item to reward yourself at the end of the month for sticking to your budget.


Prioritise your debts

Some debts cause more strain than others, so to relieve your financial burden as best as possible, aim to reduce your largest debts first. Not only will you be saving money by paying less interest, you’ll also feel far better about yourself. Only paying the minimum repayments on your credit card bill can sometimes take years to pay off, so attempt to lower these types of debts as soon as possible. Always remember, you still have other fixed debts every month like phone bills and electricity, so these have to be taken into account as well.


Still feeling the heat?

If you’ve cut back on your expenses and developed a budget but still find that there’s not enough money to settle all your debts, you’ll need to find other income streams. Are you able to work a second job? Can you sell any expensive household items that you can do without? Reaching out to family or friends is another helpful way to attempt to resolve your challenges. Whatever you do to get additional money, never get a personal loan from the bank to settle your existing debt – this will only compound an already stressful situation.


Seek financial assistance

If the above steps haven’t relieved your financial stress, it’s better to seek financial assistance sooner rather than later. Depending on your individual situation, there are a number of choices available such as debt consolidation loans or debt agreements which can assist those in need. Don’t fight your debts for years before getting assistance, call Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575 or visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au


Effective Ways to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill this Winter

Personally, I find there’s nothing worse than being cold. Hailing from Queensland, I’m used to the stiffling sun and it doesn’t worry me too much, but the cold hits me like a tonne of bricks! Like many of you, my electricity bill soars during the winter months and there’s a few reasons for this. Not only are we using heating appliances to keep us warm and cozy, but the nights are longer so naturally we use more lighting during winter.


With the cost of electricity currently soaring in Australia, this winter is the perfect time to make your house more energy efficient. Not only will you save heaps of money, but you’ll also cut down on your carbon footprint too. Recent studies illustrate that during winter, electricity is the third highest expense behind rent and food, so to help you stay warm and save money, here’s how you can make your home more energy efficient this winter.


Rug up

One of the best ways to save money this winter is to dress for the occasion. Wearing loads of warm clothing and blankets is far cheaper than using electric heating. Even when you have central heating, change the temperature to a degree which is ‘just’ comfortable and use clothing and blankets to fill the gap. You’ll acclimatise much faster than you imagine!


Heating devices

Electric heaters are undoubtedly the biggest contributor to your electricity bill throughout winter. Instead, look at using a gas heater or a fireplace which have the advantage of warming rooms faster than electric heaters but use far less electricity.



With longer and darker nights, lighting is used far more frequently in winter without you even knowing it. The lightbulbs you have set up in your home make a dramatic difference to your electricity bill, so look into changing any halogen lights for LEDs or CFLs which will save you hundreds of dollars during the year.



A reliable insulation system in your household will not only keep you warmer in winter, but cooler in summer too. Depending upon your home’s building materials, you may have the opportunity to insulate your walls, roof, and floors. Whilst home insulation does involve upfront costs, the savings in electricity over the next 10 years will undoubtedly offset it.



One area where heat escapes rapidly from your residence are through your windows. The best method is to get double glazing on your windows, but this can be relatively expensive so think about using thick drapes which will retain most of the heat. When the warmer months inevitably arrive, just change your thick drapes for curtains which are more appropriate for warmer weather.


Eradicate drafts

One of the most cost-effective ways to minimise your electricity bill is to get rid of any drafts in your household. Any gaps in your windows and doors will enable warm air to escape and cool air to enter. Look into adding caulking to your window surrounds and draft excluders to the bottom of your doorways.


Use some common sense

A bit of common sense goes a long way in making your home more energy efficient too. When cooking, leave your oven open for a few minutes when you’re finished to warm up your kitchen and lounge. In addition, don’t drain the hot water in your bath straight away. Closing doors to cold rooms when you’re not using them and turning off heating products when you leave your house or go to sleep are all simple ways to lower your electricity bill.


If you’re experiencing any financial difficulties and finding it difficult to stay on top of all your bills, it’s always best to seek financial assistance as quickly as possible. The sooner you act, the more solutions are available to you, so if you need any support with your finances, talk with Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575. Alternatively, visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au


Bankruptcy and Child Support – Everything You Need to Know

Filing for bankruptcy definitely isn’t the end of the world, but it does have serious implications that will impair your finances in the years to come. I’ve found that most of the time, focusing efforts on building a bright future is the best way for individuals to manage their bankruptcy and consecutive recovery. To do this, however, individuals need to appreciate exactly what bankruptcy entails so they can properly budget, plan, and rebuild their wealth in the most functional way possible.


One of the most common questions I get asked pertains to how bankruptcy will impact child support payments. Although this topic may seem relatively straightforward, I’ve found that it leads to a lot of misunderstanding so today we’re going to take a closer look and attempt to resolve some of that confusion.


Does bankruptcy release child support debts?

While bankruptcy releases you from a variety of debts, child support is not one of them. If you owe a significant amount of money in child support when you file for bankruptcy, it will not be released in bankruptcy so it’s best to phone the Department of Human Services (DHS) and arrange a repayment plan. If, for whatever reason, you feel the assessment given by the DHS is incorrect, you can dispute this.


How is child support figured out?

The DHS is accountable for overseeing and working with separated parents on child support assessments. To determine how much child support you must pay, the DHS inspect both your income and your care percentage of the children involved. By using your last tax return as a benchmark, the DHS will use these numbers to calculate your anticipated income for the upcoming year. This showcases the importance of keeping your tax returns up to date, and any alterations to your circumstances should be relayed to the DHS as quickly as possible.


Income contributions to your bankrupt estate

An income threshold is utilised to figure out if a bankrupt individual can afford to contribute some of their income to repay the debts in their bankrupt estate. Despite this, matters like child support, the number of dependents, income tax, fringe benefits, and salary sacrificing will have a bearing on your income threshold. The following table exhibits the specific threshold limits as of September 2017:


The DHS define a dependent as an individual who lives with you most of the time and earns under $3,539 yearly.


Assuming you earn over the income threshold, your trustee would calculate your income contributions to your bankruptcy estate with the following formula:.


(assessable income – income threshold amount) ÷ 2


Subsequently, every 50 cents you earn over your income threshold will be used to pay off the debts in your bankrupt estate.


For instance, if you earn $110,000 yearly before tax, you’ll most likely be paying approximately $30,500 each year in tax. Your assessable income would therefore be roughly $79,500. Assuming you have no other income and no dependents live with you at home, your trustee would determine your bankruptcy payments as follows:.


($79,500 – $55,837.60) ÷ 2 = $11,831.20 (or roughly $986 per month).


Child support contributions.

Your child support contributions are deducted from your taxable income so the more child support you pay, the less money gets contributed to your bankruptcy estate. Using the previous example, if you are required to pay $15,000 in child support payments yearly, your assessable income would be reduced from $79,500 (income after tax) to $64,500.


After delivering your trustee with a copy of your child support assessment from the DHS, your trustee would figure out your bankruptcy payments as follows:.


($64,500 – $55,837.60) ÷ 2 = $4,331.20 (or roughly $361 monthly).



While mixing family law and bankruptcy can be slightly perplexing, there’s always someone to assist you at Bankruptcy Australia. If you have any additional queries relating to bankruptcy and child support payments, or you just need some friendly advice, call our team on 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au


Top 5 Tips on How to Declare Bankruptcy in Australia

The majority of Australian’s have only seriously contemplated bankruptcy when playing a game of Monopoly with their mates! Despite this, there are approximately 13,000 individuals that file for bankruptcy each year in Australia. It’s astounding how rapidly individuals can go from being in a healthy financial position to facing a mountain of debt. Commonly, situations such as loss of employment, divorce, or unforeseen medical expenditures will result in serious financial complications within just a few months. Instead of wrestling with these debts for several years and ignoring the elephant in the room, it’s far better to cut your losses and seek financial guidance immediately.

A few months ago, the Australian Government proposed changes to bankruptcy laws that reduce the bankruptcy period from three years to 1 year. If this proposal is passed, it will have a dramatic impact on the stigma related to bankruptcy and the financial repercussions that bankrupts will experience down the road. While lots of people understand the concept of bankruptcy, lots of people wouldn’t know where to start if they decided that declaring bankruptcy is the best alternative for them. To provide some insight, here are the top 5 tips on how to declare bankruptcy in Australia.

  1. Seek guidance from a registered bankruptcy trustee

If you’ve decided that bankruptcy is the best solution for you, always consult with a registered bankruptcy trustee before making any concrete decisions. There is a vast difference between a firm that charges you to declare bankruptcy and a legally registered bankruptcy trustee firm. Most of the time, bankruptcy firms are not the same as registered bankruptcy trustee firms, so be sure you get the right advice the first time so you can make the best financial decision. The right advice will not only aid you with your decision-making, but also put you in the best position to make a healthy recovery after you have been discharged.

  1. Download the forms needed to declare bankruptcy

If you’ve decided that bankruptcy is the best solution for your individual situation, there are two sets of documents that you will need to complete for you to declare bankruptcy:

  • The Debtor’s Petition, which is a 3 page document (click here to download: https://www.afsa.gov.au/insolvency/how-we-can-help/forms-list/debtors-petition).
  • The Statement of Affairs, which is a 25 page document (visit this site to download: https://www.afsa.gov.au/insolvency/how-we-can-help/forms-list/statement-affairs).
  1. Collect your supporting documents.

In almost all bankruptcy cases, individuals must offer evidence that their claims are accurate by supplying various supporting documents. Generally, this will include the following:

  •  Income statements and personal tax returns
  •  Company tax returns (if you are a business owner)
  •  Centrelink benefits statement (if relevant)
  •  Formal child support notices
  •  Any family law orders
  •  Any court orders
  •  Wills of any deceased estate of which you are the beneficiary
  •  All transaction statements from transferred assets over the last 5 years

It is essential to note that failure to supply accurate information or any effort to conceal information that would otherwise be relevant to your bankruptcy proceedings is a serious offence that is punishable in a criminal court.

  1. Complete the bankruptcy paperwork.

You must reply to every question in your bankruptcy paperwork accurately and truthfully to make sure it gets processed correctly. It is vital that you include the address information of all your lenders in the secured and unsecured sections of the bankruptcy paperwork. In the Debtor’s Petition, you’ll need to provide at the very least two types of ID. If you’re unclear of which forms of ID are acceptable, check the AFSA website (https://www.afsa.gov.au). If you run out of space when answering any questions, simply print out another copy of the same page and use it to fill out further information. Additionally, be careful to include all assets sold in the last 5 years in question 33.

  1. Submit your bankruptcy paperwork.

Before you submit your bankruptcy paperwork, check the date to ensure you are lodging it within 28 days of you signing it. At Bankruptcy Australia, we understand that all the paperwork can be a bit over-bearing, so if you have any inquiries regarding your any of your answers, it’s best to call us on 1300 795 575 to ensure you get it right the first time. Alternatively, visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au.


Top 3 Reasons For Personal Bankruptcy in Australia

No one likes to contemplate bankruptcy, which is understandable since bankruptcy will have an effect on your financial situation for several years to come. This may be one of the reasons why a lot of people don’t seek financial guidance in times of need, because they are under the common misconception that bankruptcy is the only way to manage their financial concerns. Sadly, this isn’t the case as there are many solutions available to those experiencing financial difficulties. What many people don’t recognise is the sooner they act, the more alternatives will be generally be available to them.


In Australia, personal bankruptcies are on the increase again, with the September 2017 quarter marking an 8% surge in the amount of bankruptcies cases than the last year. In fact, the September 2017 quarter was the ninth successive quarter where the number of debt agreements increased. Like me, you may be wondering why?


Well, the economy is doing fine with interest rates still at an all-time low and unemployment stable at 5.6% in February 2018. Whilst the unemployment numbers aren’t optimal, it’s hovering around average levels which definitely wouldn’t trigger an 8% increase in the amount of personal bankruptcies. So, exactly what has caused 4,236 people to declare bankruptcy in the September 2017 quarter?


If you’re facing any financial hardship, understanding the top causes of personal bankruptcy will give you awareness into what factors of your finances you need to prioritise. Our world is changing quickly and pinpointing new risks in your own financial circumstance will allow you to proactively address them. To give you some insight, here are the top three causes of personal bankruptcy in Australia in 2017.


Excessive use of credit

The leading cause of bankruptcy in Australia today comes from excessive use of credit. This is significant, given that it is the first time since data collection began in 2007-08 that excessive use of credit has taken over unemployment as the primary cause of personal bankruptcy.


Clearly, this is an ongoing issue that ought to be addressed. Banks charge extravagant fees and interest charges for late credit card repayments, so if you’re already behind in your credit card repayments, do something about it now. The Government’s MoneySmart website (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au) has lots of online resources that can assist those with credit card problems. Seeking financial counselling is strongly recommended to show individuals how to plan and follow a budget.



Unemployment or loss of income continues to be one of the most contributing elements of personal bankruptcy. This doesn’t come as a suprise given that many Australian’s don’t have income insurance or an emergency fund which they can use if they endure an unexpected resignation or termination. With unemployment rates presently at 5.6%, this leaves many Australians without a reliable income source and depending only on Centrelink payments to continue to be solvent. The best way to manage an unpredicted loss of income is to be prepared, which showcases the importance of setting up an emergency fund that can support you and your family for 3 to 6 months.


Relationship breakdowns

The third largest cause of personal bankruptcies in Australia originates from relationship breakdowns. Divorce rates are continuously increasing, with the ABS recording 46,604 divorces in 2016. Even though divorces are not uncommon, financial problems arising from divorces are common given the affiliated legal fees, child support, and the abrupt transition into a one-income household. Many people find themselves inheriting debts from their partners or are unable to pay off existing credit because their expenditures have substantially increased.


Looking ahead

Irrespective of the reasons for your financial issues, the fact remains that the sooner you seek financial support, the more options will generally be available to you to resolve these issues. Many individuals wrestle with debt for years before seeking help. If you’re juggling your finances and avoiding phone calls, don’t wait any longer. Speak with the professionals at Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au


The Difference Between Good Debt and Bad Debt – What You Need To Understand

For the majority of Australian adults, debt is a part of our everyday lives. Whether you wish to advance your skills by obtaining a degree, purchase a property for your family, or buy a vehicle so your family has transportation, obtaining a loan is very common simply because we don’t have enough money to pay for these expenses upfront. It seems that everyone obtains a loan at one point or another, so what’s the problem?


The problem is that lots of folks don’t grasp the difference between good debt and bad debt, and as a result, they take on too much bad debt which can trigger significant financial problems in the future. Not all loans are created equal, and normally you’ll discover a colossal difference between your credit card interest rates and your mortgage interest rates. In time, your credit report will have a critical influence on your borrowing abilities, so paying your bills on time and not defaulting on any loans is integral, along with keeping a healthy balance between good debt and bad debt.


Each time you apply for credit, your loan provider will inspect your credit report to evaluate your financial history and then decide whether they’ll authorise your loan. Too much bad debt on your credit report will be viewed negatively by lending institutions, as it displays poor financial decisions and behaviours. To make sure that you maintain healthy financial habits, it’s critical that you have knowledge of the difference between good debt and bad debt.


What’s the difference?

The difference between good debt and bad debt is fairly straightforward. Good debt is frequently an investment that will increase in value in time and will support you in developing wealth or providing long-term income. Conversely, bad debt normally decreases in value rapidly and does not add any value to your wealth or produce a long-term return. To give you some insight, the following gives some examples of each of these types of debts.



The price of land has historically increased over time, so securing a mortgage is considered a good debt because the value of your land will increase with time. Likewise, mortgages largely have low interest rates and a long term, normally 20 to 30 years, which suggests that the value of your land can double or triple during the life of your loan.


Stock exchange

Securing a loan to invest in the stock market is also deemed to be good debt because the returns on the stock exchange are traditionally favourable. Financial institutions generally view stock exchange loans as good debt because you are trying to improve your wealth over time through a solid investment. Be careful though, it’s not wise to invest in the stock exchange unless you have an ample amount of knowledge.



Another type of good debt is investing in your education, whether it be university or a trade, given that it boosts your skills and your potential to earn a higher income in the future. In Australia, the interest on HECS loans are equal to inflation which clearly makes them a very appealing option.


Credit cards

Credit cards are commonly the worst type of debt an individual can have. Credit card debts shows to lending institutions that you have poor financial habits because the interest rates are remarkably high and you have nothing in value to show for your investment. Individuals with credit card debts frequently have troubles in obtaining future credit from loan providers.


Vehicles and consumer goods

Another type of bad debt is loans for cars and other consumer goods. When you take out a loan to buy a car, it instantly decreases in value when you drive it out of the car dealership. The same applies to consumer goods like flat screen TVs, because you are basically paying interest for something that depreciates in value very fast.


Borrowing to repay debt

If you end up in a situation where you have to get a loan to repay existing debt, it’s best to seek financial advice immediately. This type of borrowing will only lead to further money problems, and the sooner you act, the more alternatives will be available to you to resolve the issue. If you find yourself facing a mountain of debt, speak with the professionals at Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au


Best Ways to Repair a Bad Credit Report

Whether we realise it or not, our credit report has a considerable impact on our lives. It’s sort of like our health; we don’t treasure good health until we lose it. Lots of people don’t even know they have a poor credit report until they make an application for a line of credit and it’s rejected. It can come as quite a surprise to some, given that even one missed payment that is disclosed by your creditor can remain on your credit report for a maximum of seven years.


So, what is a credit report? A credit report is a report that specifies information about your financial history with creditors. Recently, credit reports have been remodelled to place greater emphasis on favourable history such as paying your bills on time, but overwhelmingly, credit reports are used by lenders to evaluate your ability to repay debts by assessing your past behaviour.


When lenders check your credit report, you normally either get a pass or fail so any default irrespective of its severity can have a long-lasting impact on your financial possibilities for years to come. Even though finding solutions to enhance a poor credit report can be tough, there are specific things you can do to enhance it. Luckily, we’ve gathered a list of suggestions that you can try to boost your credit report and your general financial health.


Review your credit report for any oversights

The first step is to examine your credit report to learn exactly what it contains. You can do this by paying a small fee to a company like ‘Check My Credit File’ (https://www.mycreditfile.com.au). It’s not uncommon for errors to be made on credit reports which can have an adverse impact on your financial abilities. Read your credit report extensively and challenge any mistakes that you discover to ensure your credit report accurately emulates your financial history. Some typical oversights that can occur are:


  •  Mistakes in personal information
  •  Wrongful defaults and judgements
  •  Old defaults and judgements
  •  Incorrect information relating to your credit history


If you discover any errors, alert the credit reporting agency in writing so these listings can be adjusted or removed to reflect your true credit history.


Pay your bills on time

Individuals underestimate how significant it is to pay your bills on time. Occasionally, individuals can be forgetful considering that they have too many bills to pay, so it’s a wise idea to talk to all your lenders and ask them to automatically debit your bank account each month. Normally, your lenders would be more than happy to do this as delivering paper statements is time-consuming and costly. By placing all your bills on autopilot, you can be sure that they’ll be paid in full and on time, which will have a positive impact on your credit report


Add extra information to your credit report

There are a number of details within your credit report which creditors will view favourably. For instance, if you are married, have been working with the same employer for more than two years, or you are a homeowner, then this information will strengthen your credit report. Lenders generally view this information in a positive light and it can assist in future credit applications. If you see that this type of information is missing from your credit report, advise the credit reporting agency and request that it be added.


Steer clear of excessive credit applications

Each time you make an application for a line of credit, it is documented on your credit report. Evidently, too many applications for credit will have a harmful effect on your credit report and the way in which lenders view your financial behaviours. It is imperative that you are reasonable and selective when applying for credit and only apply when you are optimistic it will be accepted. In addition, if you recently had a credit application denied, wait a decent amount of time before applying again.


Contemplate a debt consolidation loan

Generally, it can be very challenging to control your debts when then you have lots of them. Overlooking just one debt repayment can turn into a default, which will stay on your credit report for a minimum of five years. Think about a single debt consolidation loan which will accumulate all your debts into one, single, monthly repayment. Generally, interest rates on debt consolidation loans are quite low, and you’ll eliminate any further defaults which will have a positive impact on your credit report. If you’re interested in a debt consolidation loan, contact our friendly team at Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au


Everything you must know about Bankruptcy Notices

If you have been given a bankruptcy notice or court order you must take action rather quickly to prevent future pain. Owing anyone money regarded here as a creditor, could be any person or business to whom you owe money. If you’re not able to pay money to a creditor, the creditor will reach out to the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) who will consequently send a bankruptcy notice demanding payment of that money.


Obviously, there is a limit to the quantity of money owing to creditors before they can get in touch with the AFSA, and the minimum amount is $5,000. When the creditor has secured a final judgment, AFSA will issue you with a bankruptcy notice.


It’s integral that you take swift action if you receive a bankruptcy notice from the AFSA. You will commit an ‘act of bankruptcy’ if you fail to do any of the following:


– Fulfill the bankruptcy notice inside the requested timeframe stated on the notice (normally 21 days); or


– Apply to the courts to ask for the bankruptcy notice be cancelled or set aside in less than the timeframe presented on the notice (normally 21 days).


Committing an act of bankruptcy means that you give your creditor the authority to apply to the Federal Circuit Court for a sequestration order, or to put it simply, an order that will make you lawfully bankrupt.


How does a Bankruptcy Notice get served to me?


A bankruptcy notice can be served to you in a range of ways; it could be validly served to you individually, by normal post, or hand delivered to your registered address. In several circumstances, a bankruptcy notice could be served in an electronic format, either by means of email or fax.


If it’s not practical for a creditor to serve a bankruptcy notice using any of these means, a court order can be obtained which enables creditors to serve the bankruptcy notice in a different way.


I have a bankruptcy notice, now what?


To comply with a bankruptcy notice, you must do one of three things:


  1. You must pay in full the amount indicated in the bankruptcy notice; or


  1. Organise an agreement with the creditor, for example a payment plan over a defined period of time. The creditor must agree to the payment arrangements conditions. It’s always suggested that the agreement is made in writing so you have proof of the agreement.


  1. Get some insolvency advice. At this point, you must not delay and get some advice. If you have a notice of bankruptcy, simply contact us here at Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575 for a Free Consultation.


It is very important to note that all of these actions must be taken within the timeframe stipulated in the bankruptcy notice (usually 21 days from the date of the notice).


Can I get my Bankruptcy Set Aside?


If justified, you can apply to the court to have the bankruptcy notice set aside or cancelled. This should never be taken lightly however, because if there are unsatisfactory grounds to make an application then you will be subject to pay all the creditors legal fees which only raises the debt you owe to them.


If you do apply for your bankruptcy notice to be set aside, it’s always a wise idea to request that the court lengthens the timeframe for compliance with the bankruptcy notice, so you avert committing an act of bankruptcy while the court processes your application. To put it simply, don’t leave it to the eleventh hour.


To have your bankruptcy notice set aside, one of the following conditions must apply:


  1. The debt claimed on the bankruptcy notice does not exist;


  1. There is a defect in the bankruptcy notice;


  1. You have grounds for a counter-claim, cross demand, or set-off, equal to or exceeding the sum of debt issued in the bankruptcy notice; or


  1. The bankruptcy notice is an abuse of process.


What if the debt claimed on the bankruptcy notice does not exist?


To substantiate that the debt claimed on your bankruptcy notice does not exist, you must present evidence that:


– You have in fact paid the creditor the amount owing under the order or judgement; or


– You have appealed the order by launching proceedings to set aside the order or judgement.


In your application to set aside the bankruptcy notice, you can not simply say that you have an authentic argument to do so. You must have already filed the appropriate documents with the court that handed down the order. Along with this, you must have the ability to provide evidence to the Federal Circuit Court that demonstrates that you have a genuine case for grounds of appeal.


Further, if you do not initiate the process of setting aside the judgement or order before filing your application to set aside the bankruptcy notice, the Federal Circuit Court will not have the capacity to extend the timeframe for compliance under sections 41( 6A) and 41( 6C) of the Act. For this reason, you will have committed an act of bankruptcy.


What is a Defective Bankruptcy Notice?


A defect in the form or content of the bankruptcy notice appears when the creditor has failed to fulfill the requirements of the Act, in which case you might have grounds to request the bankruptcy notice to be set aside. Some defects are more weighty than others, and not all defects will make a bankruptcy notice void as these defects can be fixed at the discretion of the court under s 306( 1) of the Act.


Typically, the defect must be significant or inflict confusion over the actions you must take to abide by the bankruptcy notice for you to have the capability to set aside the bankruptcy notice.


There are some critical requirements of a bankruptcy notice and if these requirements aren’t met, the bankruptcy notice will subsequently be void. The following provides some examples where these crucial requirements have not been met:


– The creditor’s address on the bankruptcy notice has to make it reasonably practicable for the debtor to make payment (e.g. PO Boxes may not be suitable);.


– The creditor’s and debtor’s name on the bankruptcy notice must match the creditor’s and debtor’s name in the order or judgement;.


– Attached to the bankruptcy notice must be a copy of the judgement or order;.


– It is a requirement that there is a timeframe for compliance included in the bankruptcy notice;.


– If the creditor is claiming interest on the debt owed to them, the calculations must be stated in an independent document attached to the notice; and.


– If any part-payments made by the debtor, or any other allowed reductions, the total amount of these deductions must be specified in a separate document attached to the notice.


The following details some situations where bankruptcy notice defects have not been serious enough to make them void:.


– Failure to include the ACN of the company who is the creditor; and.


– The creditor’s address is listed as the address of their solicitors (presuming payment can be reasonably made to this address).


There are several other legal requirements that should be considered. These include:.


– The order or judgement must be at least $5,000, not including any post judgement interest being claimed by the creditor;.


– A bankruptcy notice can still be issued if the total amount is less than $5,000, provided that the total amount was higher than $5,000 when the order or judgements were pronounced;.


– A bankruptcy notice must be based upon a final judgement or order that is currently owing to a creditor under s 40( 3) of the Act. A final judgement is defined as a judgement which finally disposes of the rights of the parties involved;.


– A bankruptcy notice must be served with 6 months of its issue. The only exemption is if the Official Receiver (reg 4.02 A) has lengthened this timeframe;.


– The final order or judgement must not be stayed both at the time of issue of the notice and the time of its service. If a stay of execution is granted after service, it has no bearing on the bankruptcy notice;.


– An overstatement of the amount claimed to be owed to a creditor does not disqualify a bankruptcy notice, except if the debtor challenges the credibility of the notice in less than the timeframe for compliance (s 41( 5)); and.


– The order or judgment on which the bankruptcy notice is based can not be greater than six years old (s 41( 3)( c)).


Under what grounds could I counter-claim, set-off or cross demand?


To be successful using the grounds of counter-claim, set-off or cross demand, you will have to properly demonstrate to the court the following two items:.


  1. The counter-claim, set-off or cross demand is equal to or greater than the total amount claimed by the creditor in the bankruptcy notice. You must also satisfy the court that these claims are genuine and have a reasonable chance of succeeding; and.


  1. The counter-claim, set-off or cross demand was not set up in the proceeding where the creditor received the judgement on which the bankruptcy notice is based on. Failure to benefit from the opportunity to counter-claim, including any adversarial personal circumstances (for example lack of evidence or legal counsel), will not be adequate.


What is an Abuse of process?


An abuse of process ensues if you can demonstrate that the reasons behind the bankruptcy notice is to pressure you to pay a debt, instead of an honest effort by the creditor to invoke the court’s jurisdiction in connection with bankruptcy. If the former holds true, then you will have the potential to set aside the bankruptcy notice as a result of an abuse of process. To be successful using these grounds, you will need to present evidence of collateral purpose or unnecessary pressure.


What If I feel that I have grounds to act on one of these items above?


If you think you have a case for one of the previously mentioned reasons to contest your bankruptcy, you will need to get the following documents prepared, filed, and served if you want to apply for your bankruptcy notice to be set aside:.


  1. Application (Form B2); and.


  1. Affidavit.




You can locate the requirements for an application to set aside a bankruptcy notice in rule 3.02 of the Rules. You can either secure a final order or an interim order.


Final orders have to summarise the ideal result you want to receive and the legislative basis which the court can approve this decision. An example of a final order can be: “That bankruptcy notice (BN00231) issued on 15 June 2017, which was served to me on 1 July 2017, be set aside under section 30( 1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966.” You would also need to supply a copy of the bankruptcy notice with your application.


On the contrary, an interim order has to outline any outcomes you wish before the application is finally decided upon, and the legislative basis which the court can grant this decision. An example of an interim order could be: “The time for compliance with bankruptcy notice (BN00233) be prolonged up to and including 7 days after the outcome of this application by the Court under section 41( 6A) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966.”.




If you elect to make an application, it must be accompanied by an affidavit which describes the grounds of your application along with the date the bankruptcy notice was served to you. If you’ve already made an application to set aside the judgement of the bankruptcy notice, a copy of this application/s also needs to be attached. It’s crucial that your affidavit must comply with rule 3.02 of the Rules, or else your application may be refused and your request for an extension of time to fulfill the bankruptcy notice may not be approved.


Filing your application.


Once your documents are finalised, they will need to be filed with the courts either online or face to face at the Federal Circuit Court Registry.


There is a lodging fee that will need to be paid, however in some situations you can apply for a waiver of this fee.


Serving your documents.


Once you’ve lodged your application and affidavit and they have been stamped, you must personally serve these documents to the creditor within 3 days after the documents have been lodged.


If you are an individual, you must personally take the documents to the individual identified on the document and give it to them. If they refuse to take the documents, the individual serving them may put the document in the presence of the individual to be served and verbally tell the individual what the documents entail.


If you are a business, you must personally visit a registered office of the company and give the documents to a person servicing that business. You don’t need to present the documents to the businesses principal workplace, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) will provide you with a list of that company’s registered addresses.


If you would prefer someone else to serve the documents, you can get a bailiff of the court or a process server to serve the documents for a cost.


Financial Advice.


If you’re not sure whether you have grounds to set aside the bankruptcy notice, or you’re not sure whether you should invest the time and money to apply due to financial reasons, talk to Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575 for free advice. As an alternative, you can visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au


Australia’s Household Debt Crisis Looms

Today in the news, former economics advisor John Adams revealed that Australia is too late to avoid an ‘economic apocalypse’ despite his incessant warnings to the political elites in Canberra. He continued to advise the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates to avoid household debt getting further out of hand.


This bubble is easy to spell out. Confidence! It’s the misconstrued perception that Australia’s last 20 years of sustained economic growth will never encounter any form of correction is most troubling. Australia survived the GFC and a mining boom and bust. In the meantime, Melbourne and Sydney house prices have not skipped a beat or taken a backward step. Unfortunately, the decision makers and powerful elite in this country reside in these two cities, and see Australia’s economic hurdles through an entirely different lens to the remainder of the country. It’s a two-speed economy spiralling uncontrollably.


I acknowledge that this impending crisis isn’t just as straightforward as house prices in our two biggest cities, but the median house prices in these cities are ever rising and contribute greatly to total household debt. The experts in Canberra realise there’s an overheated house market but appear to be reviled to take on any severe steps to correct it for fear of a property crash.


As far as the rest of the country goes, they have a totally different set of economic priorities. For Western Australia and Queensland particularly, the mining bust has sent real estate prices sinking downwards for years now.


One of the indicators that demonstrate the household debt crisis we are beginning to see is the surge in the bankruptcy numbers across the entire country, especially in the 2017 March quarter.


(source: https://www.afsa.gov.au/about-us/newsroom/media-release-regional-personal-insolvency-statistics-march-quarter-2017).


In the insolvency market, our team are examining the disastrous effects of house prices going backwards. Although not the prime cause of personal bankruptcies, it clearly is a crucial factor.


House prices going backwards is just part of the problem; the other thing is owning a home in this country allows lenders to put you in a very different space as far as borrowing capacity. Put simply, you can borrow far more if you are a home owner than if you are not a home owner. I bankrupt people everyday and the extent of debt differs significantly from the non-home owner to the home owner. Lending is based upon algorithms and risk, so I suppose if you own a home you’re more likely to have reliable income and less likely to end up bankrupt, so consequently you can borrow more. If you own a home in Sydney and Melbourne, you’re a safer risk than if you own a home in Mackay, simply because in one area the median house prices are booming and the other is going backwards, as it’s been doing so for years.


In conclusion, it seems we are running into a wall at full speed, and there are few people suggesting we slow down. If you want to know more about the looming household debt crisis then give us a ring here at Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575 or visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au