On 15 August 2013, the government agency that administers
bankruptcies in Australia changed its name from the Insolvency
& Trustee Service Australia (ITSA) to the Australian Financial
Security Authority (AFSA).
Prior to the name change, ITSA had many different functions,
including operating the bankruptcy registry, maintaining the
National Personal Insolvency Index (the public record of
bankruptcies in Australia) and supervising registered bankruptcy
One of ITSA's most important roles was acting as the
Official Trustee in Bankruptcy. When an application for bankruptcy
is made, either by someone declaring themselves bankrupt or by a
creditor pursuing a debtor, the applicant can provide a consent
form signed by a registered trustee, who would then normally become
the trustee in bankruptcy. If no consent was provided, ITSA would
act as the trustee. In practice, most appointments went to ITSA, in
part because a registered trustee will normally require certain
indemnities for their fees.
However ITSA also did other things, such as assisting other
government agencies to locate and sell property under proceeds of
crime legislation. And at the beginning of last year, it became
responsible for the administration of the Personal Property
Securities Register (PPSR), of which much has been written in these
updates in the last 18 months. The change of name to AFSA does not
change the functions fulfilled by ITSA; it is simply intended to
better reflect the full range of activities undertaken by the
But anyone chasing insolvent debtors in Western Australia should
bear in mind that late last year ITSA, as it then was, largely
wound down its Perth office. This was partly due to the move
towards online lodgement of documents through ITSA/AFSA's
impressive and efficient website.
This reorganisation means that, in most cases where AFSA acts as
the trustee in bankruptcy, the administration of the bankruptcy
will be largely run from the eastern States. Usually, this will be
perfectly sufficient. However, if you are about to initiate a
bankruptcy that could involve complex or contentious issues arising
in Western Australia, or valuable property located in Western
Australia, then nominating a registered trustee based in Perth
could be a sound investment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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