Business

Bankruptcy doubles in Gladstone

A GLADSTONE property developer who once financed duplexes, is in his 60s and who was supposed to be thinking about retirement, says filing for bankruptcy has left him with nothing.

His is an all-too-common story in Gladstone, with 34 people finding themselves in financial ruin in the last three months of 2015, and 65 people in the quarter before that.

>> RELATED: Bankruptcy: a blow to your self-esteem

Many are young men who have been on big dollars on construction jobs and bought all the toys. But they have lost their jobs, going from $3000 a fortnight to $523.40 from Centrelink.

Loan repayments on that lesser or no income are harder to make.

Property prices have dropped and many people are struggling to make their financial commitments as shown by the number of people filing for bankruptcy more than doubling in two years. In that time, each month, 12 people on average have filed for bankruptcy in Gladstone and Biloela.

But that's not nearly as bad as Rockhampton, that according to the Australian Financial Securities Authority, has had 21 a month, showing Gladstone is not alone.

Mackay has had almost double (631) the bankruptcies of Gladstone and Biloela (333) in those years.

The high numbers in Mackay have lead to insolvency company SV Partners setting up a permanent office up there. But for a Gladstone property developer in his 60s who should have been retiring, filing for bankruptcy has left him with nothing.

"I'm not a complete idiot. I have an MBA and degrees, but a divorce and hold ups with a subdivision meant I couldn't pay off my ($400,000) loan," he said.

The banks stopped him from finishing his development two years ago, ruining any chance of creating enough value on the subdivision to pay the banks.

"If you haven't paid your money, (the banks) can just go in and change the locks," he said.

"I am homeless and on a pension. I'm in my 60s and without good friends I would be totally stuffed."

Bankruptcy can be a bitter pill to swallow, explains Andrew Crighton (pictured with HopeLINK chairman Ron Hawkins) who offers free debt help out of Shed 19. Since March, 31 of their clients who have asked for help, most were living outside their means. A few young men had been on the big dollars on construction jobs and bought all the toys.

"Now they've been left with debt because the jet skis and motorbikes were sold for the cheapest price by the banks," Mr Crighton said.

If the advisors don't recommend bankruptcy, Andrew says they will look at the client's finances and take control of them. He will allocate money to all of the creditors and then come up with a budget for the client with whatever is left over.

"Bankruptcy is only a way out for people who are in a horrible mess."

Topics:  bankruptcy, centrelink, gladstone



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