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Record business collapses – why am i not surprised?

By Stuart Ballantyne - posted Friday, 3 May 2024

A record 7,747 companies hit the wall in the first 9 months of this financial year according to last weekend’s Australian paper

Around the same time of the financial year, some 35 years ago, my wife and I were desperately scrambling to keep our company from collapse.

300 staff, an asset base of $14m, a full order book of small ship design and builds worth $12m, all approved by the Government’s Export Finance department and an interest rate at the time of 22% for an overdraft, what could possibly go wrong?  However, the letter from the NAB was clear, the overdraft of $2m was unacceptable and we were now on 24 hours notice to repay, as per the last line in the overdraft document.


I had helped Minister for Trade John Button a year earlier in preventing the closure of a Tasmanian shipyard, so I rang him for help in unblocking the slow export finance payments and to hold back the bank.  He responded that very afternoon, apologising, that despite appealing to NAB’s boss, Nobby Clark, the NAB and other banks were into “wholesale slaughter of medium and small business”.  The next day the undertakers of the banking and finance industry, Receivers, took the keys, the bank books, the cars, the house and our office buildings.  So our 13 years of efforts came crashing down.

Quite a humbling experience and actually quite unnecessary, if the nation had the US Title 11 Bankruptcy re-organisation instead of the archaic UK Liquidation /receivership system.

3 weeks later we were in a small rental in the suburb of Eagleby, south of Brisbane, with a borrowed ute, 4 sons at Christian schools and a big golden retriever that ate more than the boys.

Bundling the boys into the back of the ute, my wife reminded me this was illegal. “What more can they take from us? They already have the house, the car, the company and all the assets “

ALP Prime Minister Keating at the time, informed us this was the recession we had to have and as his ratings were crashing, he was distracting the media and the public with “lets change the system, get rid of the Australian Flag, the monarchy, let’s have the recession we have to have and a banana republic!”

“Record Business Collapses” blared the newspaper headlines at the time. I knew that very well, as many business friends were also swept up.  As I stood in the dole queue in Beenleigh every fortnight, they would inform me that there were no vacancies for ship designers in the Beenleigh area and would approve my dole payment.


Many of my friends abandoned their business dreams and just took secure government jobs, but as an obstinate Scot, I got back on the horse.  It took us 6 years to fully recover, but this time we stayed away from banks, not even an overdraft, which is what caught us out last time.

Cost of Living Crisis?  if you want a full immersion povvo, penniless and painful experience like the now over 8,000 business families that are going through receivership / liquidation this year, just keep endorsing Labor and Greens, and the insane policies that these fickle fools focus on.

Take heed of my words:- Keating, Rudd and Gillard all spiked the rise in business collapses and if you don’t believe me, check it out!  However this Team Albanese with the embedded DNA of ALP stupidity is something else.  Between Albo, Bowen, Burke and Wong, if they had a brain in their head, it would definitely be a stowaway!

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About the Author

Stuart Ballantyne is just a sailor who runs Seat Transport Solutions who are naval architects, consultants, surveyors and project managers.

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