Pil­bara bat­tlers go bank­rupt

Pilbara News - - News - Tay­lar Amonini

The num­ber of peo­ple en­ter­ing into per­sonal bank­rupt­cies has al­most tripled in the re­gion in the past two years.

The Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Se­cu­rity Author­ity last week re­leased the re­gional per­sonal in­sol­vency sta­tis­tics for the De­cem­ber 2016 quar­ter, which showed the to­tal num­ber of debtors in the Pil­bara reach 29.

In the De­cem­ber quar­ter of 2014, the to­tal num­ber of debtors was at 10 and 2015 De­cem­ber quar­ter jump­ing to 14.

Per­sonal in­sol­vency debt is when debt is in­curred by an in­di­vid­ual if they can­not see a way out out of debt and de­clare bank­ruptcy.

De­spite the sub­stan­tial in­crease of per­sonal in­sol­vency num­bers in the Pil­bara, the De­cem­ber 2016 quar­ter did show the num­ber of debtors who en­tered a busi­ness­re­lated per­sonal in­sol­vency fell 15.4 per cent in com­par­i­son to the Septem­ber 2016 quar­ter.

WA In­sol­vency So­lu­tions part­ner Chris Wil­liamson said on the ar­eas caus­ing debt is­sues, the mining sec­tor had the big­gest im­pact in the re­gion.

“What was ser­vic­ing peo­ple’s debts in the Pil­bara was the mining ser­vices and when that took a drop and the con­struc­tion phase com­pleted, there was not a lot of work for peo­ple,” he said.

“All those in con­struc­tion strug­gled with pro­duc­tion now boom­ing, quite a few com­pa­nies liq­ui­dated, which flowed onto trans­port and the move­ment of goods into the North West.

“This domino ef­fect makes it dif­fi­cult to ser­vice the nor­mal liv­ing ex­penses and thus per­sonal in­sol­vency oc­curs.”

Mr Wil­liamson, how­ever, be­lieves the small de­crease in busi­ness-re­lated per­sonal in­sol­ven­cies shows things are be­gin­ning to turn up for the Pil­bara.

“New projects are be­ing an­nounced, like the one in Balla Balla. It’ll prob­a­bly give a kick to sur­round­ing towns,” he said.

Port Hed­land Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Jim Hen­neberry said he had seen mul­ti­ple busi­nesses close down and many fam­i­lies hav­ing to move out of town.

“It’s all com­ing down to a thing called pop­u­la­tion base. Our pop­u­la­tion base is drop­ping and busi­nesses in turn are hav­ing a smaller pool of cus­tomers to draw upon,” he said.

Mr Hen­neberry said he en­cour­aged res­i­dents in the Pil­bara to buy lo­cally to sus­tain small busi­ness.

Our pop­u­la­tion base is drop­ping and busi­nesses in turn are hav­ing a smaller pool of cus­tomers to draw upon. Jim Hen­neberry

Port Hed­land Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Jim Hen­neberry notes busi­nesses are do­ing it tough.

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