Baldivis tops personal bankruptcies’ list for second year

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph

Baldivis has recorded the highest number of personal bankruptcies in Australia for a second successive year.

According to data analytic company illion’s bankruptcy analysis for the 2018 financial year 32,350 Australians declared bankruptcy, with 105 in Baldivis.

The figure is up from the 103 reported bankruptcies in illion’s 2017 financial year report.

Anglicare WA Financial Counselling Service Rockingham’s Jacky Hamilton said since January more than a quarter of client appointments for bankruptcy were from Baldivis, a much higher figure than in any surrounding suburbs.

“As Baldivis is a relatively new area there are many first-homebuyers and due to the decline in house prices these often have very little or no equity. Selling the property may often leave a shortfall debt as the house is sold for less than the value of the loan.”

Some of the common reasons for bankruptcies included fly-in, fly-out workers being laid off from high paying jobs and a lack of local employment opportunities.

“Those lucky enough to find work in a reasonable time frame are often only offered casual employment,” Ms Hamilton added.

“The drop in wage is a struggle as some families are already overcommitted with secured loans for mortgages, vehicles or have large credit card debt. Relationship breakdowns is another common reason along with mental health often due to the stress and anxiety of their financial situation.”

Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby also pointed to the downturn in the mining sector as an explanation for the high number of bankruptcies.

“The downturn in mining and resources has hit our suburb hard. Families starting out with a mortgage and young kids are particularly vulnerable,” he said.

“The numbers also reflect the fact Baldivis is a large suburb with a high proportion of new home buyers.”

Ms Hamilton recommended anyone struggling with debt, or looking at bankruptcy, should make an appointment with a financial counsellor.

“St Nicholas Community Centre has professional counsellors trained to work with the client to resolve difficulties coping with life’s challenges, relationship conflict or communication, adult or children’s mental health wellbeing, and housing support helping families sustain their tenancy,” she said.

“Having the advantage of integrated services in one centre allows clients to access multiple services with staff always offering quick and easy referrals or information of programs and amenities available both in the centre and local area.”

Appointments with Anglicare WA Financial Counselling Service Rockingham are free and can be made on 1300 114 446. Websites such as www.moneysmart.gov.au and www.afsa.gov.au also offer advice and help, as does the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

In Kwinana, call the Australian Red Cross on 9419 7237.

The Consumer Credit Legal Service WA Inc can help with issues including struggling to pay credit and negotiating with credit providers. Call 9221 7066.

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