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The Attorney-General has responsibility for bankruptcy policy, the Bankruptcy Act 1966 and the Australian Financial Security Authority.

The Bankruptcy Act and associated legislation regulates Australia's personal insolvency system and provides a framework to allow people in severe financial stress to discharge unmanageable debts while providing for the realisation of a debtor's available assets for distribution to affected creditors.

Bankruptcy Amendment (Debt Agreement Reform) Act 2018

The Bankruptcy Amendment (Debt Agreement Reform) Act 2018 was passed in Parliament on 19 September 2018 and received Royal Assent on 27 September 2018.

The Debt Agreement Reform Act amends the Bankruptcy Act to provide tighter regulation of the debt agreement regime. Its reforms will improve industry standards by improving consumer protection safeguards, enhancing the debt agreement system's transparency, raising administrators' registration standards and, where appropriate, expanding access to the system.

Reforms include changes to:

  • the length of a debt agreement a debtor can propose
  • debtor eligibility to enter into a debt agreement
  • the Official Receiver's powers to refuse to accept a debt agreement proposal in exceptional circumstances
  • creditor voting rules around debt agreements
  • debt agreement administrator registration requirements
  • penalties for misconduct by debt agreement administrators
  • the Inspector-General in Bankruptcy's investigation and inquiry powers
  • the streamlining of the process for seeking unclaimed moneys.

Further information regarding this Act can be found at the Parliament of Australia website.

Australian Financial Security Authority

The administration and regulation of Australia's bankruptcy system is the responsibility of the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).

The AFSA website has further information about bankruptcy, including:

  • what to do about unmanageable personal debts
  • what to do if you are owed money by a person
  • how to be a trustee or administrator
  • complaints processes.