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Insolvency Practices Inquiry

On 10 October, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman launched an inquiry into the insolvency system, to investigate if current insolvency practices achieve the best possible outcome for small and family businesses in financial trouble.

Our Small Business Loans Inquiry identified a lack of transparency for the small business owner when a creditor commenced debt recovery action. The small business owners felt they had lost control of their business as they were unable to contribute to, or obtain copies of, reports by insolvency practitioners. As the cases reviewed frequently ended in the business being wound up, the process appeared poorly managed to the small business owners and resulted in less than ideal outcomes for the owner, the lender and creditors of the business.

This inquiry will identify areas where practices can be improved and recommend changes to the system to achieve fairer outcomes for all parties involved.

An interim report will be released in December with a final report to be handed down in February 2020.

Share your story

We invite small and family businesses that have faced financial difficulties and restructured or wound up their business to share their stories by completing this survey.

The survey will close COB on Friday 20 December 2019.

Alternatively, you can email us at


If you choose to participate:

  • you must not provide information that would be in breach of a confidentiality agreement
  • the information provided to the inquiry is ­not covered by parliamentary privilege.

Importantly, the Ombudsman cannot change the outcome of your issue, fund or intervene in legal actions or get you compensation.


Terms of Reference (PDF 214KB)

Reference Group (PDF 96KB)

Media announcement