Are Bankruptcy Filings Public Records?

Filing for bankruptcy in Australia is a serious decision, and it is important that you are aware of the implications of declaring bankruptcy before you make it. Bankruptcy can have a significant impact on your financial situation for several years, however it could be a suitable debt management solution for you to alleviate your financial difficulties if you are unable to repay your debt.

Everyone’s financial and personal circumstances are different. You need to understand what impact bankruptcy will have on your particular situation and be fully informed of your options. Knowing what to expect after you opt for bankruptcy will help you make an informed decision. If you are considering bankruptcy as a debt solution, you might wonder whether your bankruptcy filing would be made a public record?

The short answer to the question is yes; if you file for bankruptcy it is recorded on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) indefinitely, which is a public record. In this article, we will answer various questions about public records of bankruptcy filings, which will allow you to feel more informed if you exercise the option of bankruptcy as a debt solution.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a formal legal process where you’re declared unable to pay your debts. When you become bankrupt, you don’t have to pay most of the debts you owe. Bankruptcy usually lasts 3 years and 1 day. Your credit report will be impacted for up to 5 years or 2 years from your discharge, whichever is longer, and your bankruptcy will be publicly listed on the NPII indefinitely. This record is maintained by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) and requires payment of a fee to access

You can voluntarily file for bankruptcy, in which case you need to fill out a bankruptcy form. Alternatively, in certain cases your creditor can also initiate a court process against you for failing to repay your debt, which is called a sequestration order. After you file for bankruptcy, the AFSA appoints a trustee who manages your finances during bankruptcy.

How can you apply for bankruptcy?

To apply for bankruptcy, you need to create an Online Service Account on the AFSA website and submit an online bankruptcy form. To create your account, you need either a Medicare card, driver’s licence, passport, or birth certificate, which would be used to verify your identity. You also need to attach documents, such as payslips, and bank statements with your application, and also mention details about your income, assets, debts, and your business if any.

The AFSA notifies you in writing whether your application is approved or rejected. If your application is approved, the AFSA also informs your creditors about your bankruptcy.

apply for bankruptcy

How can you find bankruptcy information about any individual?

In Australia, all bankruptcy cases are stored on the AFSA’s NPII. You can check the records on the database on the AFSA website via the name of the individual, date of birth, or the administration reference number. You have the option to either download details of an individual’s bankruptcy or a report containing a list of individuals matching your search criteria.

The database was created in 1928. The record may be checked to determine your bankruptcy status and gauge your creditworthiness when you apply for a loan, mortgage, or any other type of debt.

What information is available on bankruptcy public records?

The information that is available publicly on bankruptcy records includes your name, date of birth, residential address, occupation, current status, and type of proceeding. Your bankruptcy file also shows the administration number and date on which your bankruptcy started. The record also mentions the name and contact details of the proceeding’s trustee. The current status of the proceedings discloses whether the individual has an active bankruptcy or if the individual has been discharged from bankruptcy. Also, your record would stay on the bankruptcy register permanently even after you are discharged from bankruptcy proceedings.

The pros and cons of bankruptcy

If you find yourself in a position where you feel you are unable to pay your debts and cannot come to a satisfactory arrangement with your creditors, bankruptcy could be your best option. However, bankruptcy understandably has a bad reputation and can seem like a terrifying prospect. It certainly has its disadvantages and should never be considered as a first option if you can otherwise pay off your debts. But it can offer you a chance to start over.

If you’re struggling with your debts and considering bankruptcy; it’s worth balancing the pros and cons to help decide if it’s the best option for you.

Check out my previous blog for more information on the pros and cons of declaring bankruptcy.

Pros and cons of bankrupt


Bankruptcy filings are public records, which can be a major pain point for you if you want to file for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy is easy but insolvent borrowers often adopt this option as a last resort. Not only is your record made public, but the bankruptcy also stays on the register permanently, which can significantly reduce your chances of getting new loans even once you’re in a better financial situation. Bankruptcy lasts for three years and is shown on your credit report for two more years after the end of your bankruptcy period of three years. So, in total, your credit report will report your bankruptcy for at least five years. However, bankruptcy can relieve you of some of your debts and give you a chance to stabilise your financial position.

B M Peachey

B M Peachey, has over 15 years of experience investing in property and the stock market, in both New Zealand and Australia. She has a post-graduate degree, with qualifications in Finance and Mortgage Broking and in Accounting and Bookkeeping. She is passionate about ensuring people have access to credible, reliable, and easy to understand information to help them get in control of the life they REALLY want to live.

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    Disclaimer: The information in this article is general in nature as it has been prepared without taking account of your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstance before acting on it, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a finance professional such as an adviser.