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The year at a glance

July 2019

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We released our Personal Insolvency Compliance Program for 2019–20.

This annual program sets out what we’ll pay particular attention to during the year, based on identified trends and emerging issues.

During 2019–20, the program focused on compliance with recent debt agreement law reform, remuneration practices, the importance of culture in the personal insolvency system, and compliance of registered practitioners with industry body codes of conduct.

August 2019

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We celebrated one year of AFSAsandpit, our online user research and testing platform. The platform enables two-way communication with our service users and stakeholders and provides us with feedback to better understand the barriers people face when accessing our services. We use AFSAsandpit to test ideas with our service users and stakeholders before launching new services.

During the first year of AFSAsandpit’s operation, we received 278 pieces of feedback, which directly contributed to improving our services.

September 2019

AFSA staff talking with students at the bstreetsmart event.
The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) team participated in the bstreetsmart NSW 2019 event, with more than 25,000 students and teachers in attendance across three days.

The event educates young people about road safety and prepares them to get behind the wheel for the first time. Topics included the importance of doing a $2 used car check on the PPSR.

This event enabled face-to-face conversations and connections with 15- to 17-year-old first-time car buyers—an audience typically hard to reach.

October 2019

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Our Chief Executive, Hamish McCormick, and our National Manager – Regulation and Enforcement, Paul Shaw, participated in Financial Counselling Australia’s ‘A Day in the Life’ program, where federal politicians and senior executives in government spend time with a financial counsellor to gain an understanding of their role and the experiences of their clients in financial difficulty.

November 2019

The National Service Centre
Our National Service Centre transitioned to a cloud-based contact centre solution.

This cloud-based service provides us with the ability to quickly and easily provide new communication channels, if and when they’re needed.

During the year ahead, we’ll be deploying some of these communication channel technologies to deliver a more integrated and seamless contact experience for different user groups.

December 2019

AFSA meeting with Japanese and Korean delegation.
We continued our PPSR collaboration and education, welcoming international delegations from Japan and Korea.

We were proud to share our insights and learnings from operating and managing a successful, modern secured transactions registry. Opportunities like these provide a valuable platform for mutual knowledge sharing, growth and collaboration.

January 2020

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We launched our new Bankruptcy Online service on 2 January 2020. People with unmanageable debt can access the new service through our website, create an account to prove their identity, and apply for bankruptcy by downloading and submitting the new bankruptcy form online.

The move to online services is part of our commitment to the Digital Transformation Strategy, released by the Digital Transformation Agency, which aims to ensure that, by 2025, Australia will be one of the top three digital governments in the world for the benefit of all Australians.

February 2020

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We released our first in-depth market report, Registered trustee remuneration in the personal insolvency system, following a review to gain a deeper understanding of the practices used by registered trustees to set and charge fees.

The report outlines our findings and provides recommendations for registered trustees, creditors and people who are bankrupt, and is designed to educate target audiences about the existing processes and provide guidance on best practice.

March 2020

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We implemented temporary changes to personal insolvency—as part of the Australian Government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic—to provide financial relief to individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The temporary changes include increases to the minimum debt amount and response timeframes relating to bankruptcy notices, and increases to the protection period for people who apply for temporary debt protection to prevent immediate recovery action against them by unsecured creditors.

April 2020

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We restructured our internal reporting lines to facilitate the start of our Future AFSA program, which began on 1 July 2020. This three-year program is designed to make sure we invest in the right things to modernise our services and keep us agile and innovative while we continue to deliver on our vision to be a world-class government service provider and a firm and fair regulator.

May 2020

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Our Chief Economist and Statistician, River Paul, chaired the 2nd Annual Advancing Data Sharing in Government Conference, which was held in Canberra on 27–28 May 2020.

River also delivered a keynote speech on understanding data-sharing frameworks and how they can be implemented.

June 2020

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We presented to an international group of insolvency regulators via videoconference about how we conduct practitioner inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic—in particular, our remote inspections and ‘e-inspections’—and the opportunities and challenges presented by the current environment. Both Canada and Hong Kong have shown strong interest in our regulatory approach to inspections during the pandemic.