Bankruptcy rises on the Northern Rivers

THERE has been a 30% jump in small business owners declaring bankruptcy on the Northern Rivers, according to the latest report by the Australian Financial Security Authority.

This compares to a national increase of 11%.

The April-June report also revealed that one in 10 locals have been blacklisted from traditional borrowing.

Jeanette Dibley from Northern Rivers Book Keeping said she commonly sees people blacklisted due to unpaid electricity bills.

"We have one of the highest electricity prices in the world and (the government) is not doing anything to help us," she said.

"It's extremely hard for busy people that are trying to run a business, trying to keep all of these things in their head, there's no leeway."

Ms Dibley believes there are a number of reasons why bankruptcy has soared on the Northern Rivers.

"Online shopping is one reason, and the diversity up here with undercutting each other, then there's people not receiving training on how to run a business," she said.

"I really feel sorry for small businesses ... They put their heart and soul on the line and they put in a lot of hours."

Former debt collector Laurence Barlow has helped create an app to get people off the credit blacklist.

He said small businesses often got into trouble over unpaid mobile phone bills.

"If you're more than 60 days late paying a telephone bill that's more than $150, you can be blacklisted from getting traditional credit for five years," he said.

"Most people don't even realise what's going on - they only find out when they next try to apply for credit or get finance and are turned away."

The DIY app is called Credit Reboot.

Ms Dibley advised that anyone who has been blacklisted should first try to negotiate with whoever blacklisted them.

"That's the easiest way," she said.



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