Let’s talk: Whose fault is it that we’re going broke?

Australians aren’t getting any richer, we know that, but it’s the rate that we’re going broke that is a bit
Let's Talk

Australians aren’t getting any richer, we know that, but it’s the rate that we’re going broke that is a bit surprising. According to new figures from the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), more than 7,000 Australians went bankrupt in the March quarter, which is the fastest rate of Australians going broke since the GFC.

The people struggling the most were in Queensland and Western Australia, which is quite a contrast to years gone by: these are meant to be the resource-rich states.

Wesley Mission CEO Keith Garner told the ABC that in the last year the charity had received over 6,000 distress calls from people in financial strife.

And what’s causing the money issues isn’t just poor planning: people are reporting redundancies, falling wages and sliding house prices as the reasons behind financial distress.

Mr Garner said Wesley Mission was seeing many people unable to meet basic needs and their mounting debt repayments.

“If the car breaks down — and the car isn’t a luxury for many people, they need it for work — if the car breaks down, they can’t deal with that. If they get an unexpected health fund bill, it’s difficult to pay it.

“Now when that sort of thing is happening, you really do have issues that you have to face.”

Mr Garner said he was particularly concerned about Australians with mountains of credit card debt.

“Credit card debt is at really very, very high levels,” he said.

“We meet people where when they look at their credit cards, they’re almost like a pack of cards, there’s that many of them — store cards, all kinds of ways not to be able to have to address today the problems that are building up.”

The Wesley Mission is now calling on the Government to provide Australians with better financial education to avoid issues like this arising.

“I think we need not only more people available to help folks before it gets too difficult … we also need much more financial counselling,” Mr Garner said.

“We need much more financial education in our schools, with our young people and with families so that the issues that people are having to face, they’re equipped to deal with them.”

A spokesperson for the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the Department of Social Services offered free and confidential financial counselling services to anyone in financial distress.

It begs the question, is the Government truly to blame for people who are having financial issues? Should financial education start at home, society or school?

Share your thoughts below.

  1. Noel Baxendell  

    For a decade or so, the business community has been increasing their share of GDP or our national income faster than the growth in productivity (or if you like, faster than our total wealth has been increasing.)

    This means that the rest of us, as a whole, are getting poorer and poorer every year.

    We can move to become a more equal and sharing economy, or we can go on ignoring the issue until we reach a point where people will no longer have the money to buy and goods and services which provide the profits for the 1%ers.

    • dennis porter  

      U need to invest in your own business vai SHARES that way u reap the rewards wages are not increasing but good businesses are

  2. Jessica  

    When John Howard left as PM, there was 88 BILLION $ in the Treasury.

    Along comes labor with krudd, who SPENDS that amount in 6 MONTHS!
    That’s all labor knows how to do ‘quickly & excellently’……SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, & then some.

    No wonder the current LNP Fed Govt is trying to balance the books!
    They won’t make it by the next Election, as there’s way too much to replace after six years’ of labor’s gross mis-management.

    • Jaybee  

      You’re wish to make this a political issue is rather sad and pathetic. It also shows your total lack of research and understanding on the subject.

      • Jessica  

        ……and, of course, YOU have Degree’s in Accountancy , & Business Management???
        Doubt it, as your reply, in all ways, speaks loudly of your inadequacy.

    • Lynne Highfield  

      Spoken like a true Lib Jessica!

    • Denis  

      And will continue with Shorten, with more promises of spending to win the next elections, they don’t have a clue where we heading

    • [email protected]  

      Well Jessica the current 17% nett debt to GDP was very nearly doubled by the former Treasurer when he entered office in 2013. That level is trivial and is what Government is for to smooth fluctuations and provide stimulus; As did former PM Rudd and Treasurer Swan with the safe passage Australia had during the GFC with their stewardship.

      The article above is about personal debt and what we need to be concerned about is the fact that personal credit and mortgage debt is $2 Trillion Dollars; Or more than 100% GDP: See this ABC page: http://ab.co/16sl7T9

      Australians’ in general were better off before the interest war invoked lower rates and shackled everyone to their credit card early in life with the belief of “spend now – pay later” when in fact many cannot manage even a small debt to the point of finalizing it.

      Should there be a small rise in Interest rates as economists’ predict; Expect a U.S. style sub-prime crisis here from that.

    • Patricia  

      Here we go again, Jessica, please stop using that old chestnut, are you old enough to remember the “global financial CRISIS”, contrary to your political parties belief it was real, and with extraordinary management by the goverment lead by Kevin Rudd this country did not go into recession! Stimulus investment by the goverment saved jobs, homes and futures, fact! Yes we are in deficit, and your political party has tripled that debt in just 3 years. Perhaps if your goverment would stay out of private jets and helicopters it might help! I thought this question was about personal debt, and plastic has replaced common sense, consumerism gone mad, no cash just plastic, no one cares, I just gotta have it, full time permanent work is disappearing, and the median house price in Sydney is $1,000,000. Technology is changing our world faster than we can think, not every gadget is a necessity. There is a crash coming and i for one believe that it has to happen. I live on a pension and never thought i would see the day when meat would be out of my reach. Education, Bi partisan thinking and planning is crucial.

      • Jessica  

        I’m not in ANY political party, or in the government!
        Your comments are just plain ignorant, like you…….

  3. Susan Bell  

    It is the fault of governments not forcing companies to pay tax. It is a revenue problem and this horrific government punishes the poor and throws money at coal and steel industries, lets big business not pay tax and are propping up business’s that are destroying the environment. If they had put money into environmental industries we would generate far more jobs and develop skills we will need for the future. If they paid properly for education we would have a far better future, if they paid properly for scientific research, if they paid properly for our health services we would be a more productive nation with a good future. And Jessica, the spending of the Rudd government meant we safely navigated the GFC unlike the rest of the world. This Abbott/Turnbull government have doubled Australia’s debt and yet have still not secured our future and the Turnbull NBN will lose even more business for Australia as it is an expensive useless scheme using old technology.

    • Jessica  

      Oh, you’re one of those ranting greenies! Dumb, & dumber!

      • Hi Jessica, can you tell me where I can join your personnel liberal club, as I would like to be paid as much as you, for your bias comments thanks

      • Patricia  

        Your insulting comment say more about you than anything else, sad really

    • Patricia  

      Irene that is just plain lies! The usual liberal party bulldust. Dont let the truth get in the way of your tory fantasy. try reading other than news ltd. Try reading the actual enquiy reports. This was about personal debt, but you lot cant help yourselves. Impossible to have an open discussion with narrow minded people.

  4. Lynette Hein  

    Sadly Australia has become a welfare dependant society with everybody and his dog lining up for a handout. Labor has always been a spending government, always attracting voters by continuing to give handouts for everything from single parent families to those who are unemployed but refuse to travel to find work. The LNP is not much better as they allow big business to get away without paying their fare share of taxes. Bring back work for the dole; make the father’s of ‘single’ parent families pay – single females must name the father/s of their children before they can get assistance and the government has to go after the men. If they don’t pay up voluntarily they should have money deducted from their wages if they are working, and if they are not working their benefits should be reduced. There are too many ‘benefit’ schemes which should be done away with as we cannot afford them – it is just mind boggling what people can get these days and it just cannot go on. Whether we have ANY government with the courage to stop the rot is another question.

    • Patricia  

      And there’s another old chestnut to be dragged out at every oppotunity, welfare! Blame the pensioners and those on the dole, easy pleazy! Its just not true! Spending on credit is now the norm, we live in a throw away society, all on the never never and that includes our corporations. Appalling corporate management from clive palmer to steel conglomerates, and they employ 10s of thousands, they go bust and walk away, publlished unemployment figures are a fabrication of the true rate. Parents dont demonstrate fiscal responsibility so children dont learn. Just look at young teenagers and mobile phones, they cost hundreds of dollars and latest model is life altering for them must have it now! The majority of 18yearolds live in a windowless solitary world full of flickering screens, and they learn nothing about financial survival, uneducated in the real world of work and vunerable to exploitation, no parenting, no economic education, just gimme it now! Parents ofvtoday are the most materialistic genration ever and itvwill end badly for us all. Bring on the royal commission in to banks, they should be transparent. Hmmmm do you think we could survive without any contact with banks, pensions were paid in person and in cash decades ago, now you have to have a bank account. They control our lives, think about it.

  5. Marjorie Miller  

    Sadly, we have no leadership in our country at the moment. The Greens want to bring all these extra refugees in but where is the money coming from? They will all want govt. handouts.
    I’ve just been reading that including the family home in the assets tests is on the radar again. I’m sure that will cost the a good many votes. When are they going to leave Seniors alone?.

    • Patricia  

      And there’s another old chestnut to be dragged out at every oppotunity, welfare! Blame the pensioners and those on the dole, easy pleazy! Its just not true! Spending on credit is now the norm, we live in a throw away society, all on the never never and that includes our corporations. Appalling corporate management from clive palmer to steel conglomerates, and they employ 10s of thousands, they go bust and walk away, publlished unemployment figures are a fabrication of the true rate. Parents dont demonstrate fiscal responsibility so children dont learn. Just look at young teenagers and mobile phones, they cost hundreds of dollars and latest model is life altering for them must have it now! The majority of 18yearolds live in a windowless solitary world full of flickering screens, and they learn nothing about financial survival, uneducated in the real world of work and vunerable to exploitation, no parenting, no economic education, just gimme it now! Parents ofvtoday are the most materialistic genration ever and itvwill end badly for us all. Bring on the royal commission in to banks, they should be transparent. Hmmmm do you think we could survive without any contact with banks, pensions were paid in person and in cash decades ago, now you have to have a bank account. They control our lives, think about it.

  6. Jessica, I should hope Howard had some money left after he sold all of Australia’s Gold Reserves, all 167 tonnes of it, to the Chinese. The ALP got this country through the GFC with one of the best financial reports in the world. You can thank Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd for that. You should read how they managed that, it was brilliant. The ALP might spends, the LNP sells our assets. You talk about people on benefits and someone else said something about people not being willing to travel to take a job. From memory you have to be prepared to travel 90 minutes each way. Well the towns around here within that radius have the same high unemployment as there is here…so really, what’s the point? Especially as the unemployed don’t get any benefits for 6 months. Where does the money for travel come from? Perhaps the unemployed could join the Police Force, because that’s the only growth industry when there is high unemployment. People will steal, not starve. Who can we vote for? There are no bright sparks on the horizon of any colour.

    • Patricia  

      And there’s another old chestnut to be dragged out at every oppotunity, welfare! Blame the pensioners and those on the dole, easy pleazy! Its just not true! Spending on credit is now the norm, we live in a throw away society, all on the never never and that includes our corporations. Appalling corporate management from clive palmer to steel conglomerates, and they employ 10s of thousands, they go bust and walk away, publlished unemployment figures are a fabrication of the true rate. Parents dont demonstrate fiscal responsibility so children dont learn. Just look at young teenagers and mobile phones, they cost hundreds of dollars and latest model is life altering for them must have it now! The majority of 18yearolds live in a windowless solitary world full of flickering screens, and they learn nothing about financial survival, uneducated in the real world of work and vunerable to exploitation, no parenting, no economic education, just gimme it now! Parents ofvtoday are the most materialistic genration ever and itvwill end badly for us all. Bring on the royal commission in to banks, they should be transparent. Hmmmm do you think we could survive without any contact with banks, pensions were paid in person and in cash decades ago, now you have to have a bank account. They control our lives, think about it.

    • jan  

      Well said.. I get sick of the same old thing wouldn’t it be much better to work together as one government instead of all the they did this and they did that . ..

  7. Irene Bruschi  

    Greg who are you kidding? Wayne Swan couldn’t balance his own household budget let alone Australia’s. We are still trying to deal with the legacy of KRudd and Gillard ; the BER’s, pink batts, $900 stimulus packages etc. Have you seen the number of poorly designed ‘sheds ‘that sprouted up in school yards across the country, even some school grounds that were in the process of closure? Most of the people I knew used the $900 to buy a bigger TV . The $400 school package was long gone down the throats of the one-armed bandits before the school year began and was followed by complaints of how expensive schooling had become. The money was not wisely spent, simply used as smoke and mirrors to fog the real problems. Fortunately there was at that time a rather large bank account that the government could raid. Now it’s gone!

    • Patricia  

      Irene that is just plain lies! The usual liberal party bulldust. Dont let the truth get in the way of your tory fantasy. try reading other than news ltd. Try reading the actual enquiy reports. This was about personal debt, but you lot cant help yourselves. Impossible to have an open discussion with narrow minded people.

  8. Cheryl  

    I am on a Disability pension and it disgusts me that the current government is seeking to cut not only some disability pensions but aged pensions and Defence Force wages. Here’s an idea let’s cut politicians salaries and if the muck up aka Bronwyn Bishop et al then the give up their right to a tax payer funded pension. Pool lies are who I blame for us going broke.

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