AFSA’s role in Bankruptcy
Who is AFSA?
The Insolvency Trustee Service Australia (AFSA) is the federal government agency who administers and regulates the personal insolvency regime in Australia. AFSA has an office in every capital city of Australia.
The Australian Bankruptcy Act creates separate roles for delegates appointed by the Minister and office of the Official Trustee in Bankruptcy.
What does the Inspector General in Bankruptcy do?
The inspector General in Bankruptcy is appointed by the Minister and is charged with the role of licensing and regulating the activities of Registered Trustees in Bankruptcy and Registered Debt Agreement Administrators. Section 12 of the Bankruptcy Act sets out the powers and responsibilities of the Inspector General in Bankruptcy which are namely:
- to make any enquiries or investigations into the conduct of a Registered Trustee in bankruptcy;
- to review certain decisions of a Registered Trustee in Bankruptcy;
- to make any enquiries or investigation into the conduct of a Registered Debt Agreement Administrator;
- to make enquiries and investigations into the affairs of a bankrupt, a debtor subject to a Personal Insolvency Agreement or a Debt Agreement;
- to provide the minister after each financial year a report on the operations of AFSA and activities under the Bankruptcy Act
- to fulfill the Inspector General in Bankruptcy functions under the Bankruptcy Act, the Inspector General may:
- call for the production of any books or records maintained by a Registered Trustee in Bankruptcy or Registered Debt Agreement Administrator
- call for a written answer from a Registered Trustee in Bankruptcy or Registered Debt Agreement Administrator
What does the Official Receiver do?
The Official Receiver is also appointed by the Minister to discharge functions under the Bankruptcy Act and has powers, such as:
- issue Bankruptcy Notices (Section 41 of the bankruptcy Act);
- order access to premises to remove or take copies of records of a bankrupt (Section 77AA of the Bankruptcy Act);
- issue notices to persons to provide information pertaining to the affairs of a bankrupt (Section 77C of the Bankruptcy Act);
- issue notices to persons to make payments to the Trustee in Bankruptcy to discharge a bankrupt’s obligation under the compulsory income contribution regime (Section 139 ZL of the Bankruptcy Act);
- issue notices to persons to make payments who have received money or property from a bankrupt that is void against the Registered Trustee in Bankruptcy (Section 139 ZQ of the Bankruptcy Act)
What does the Official Trustee in bankruptcy do?
The Official Trustee in Bankruptcy administers bankrupt estates where a Registered Trustee in Bankruptcy has not consented to act. The Official Trustee in Bankruptcy is a government body (ie it is not a natural person) and its functions are discharged by employees of AFSA under the supervision of the Inspector General in Bankruptcy.
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