A new report released today confirms in uncompromising detail what aged care workers already know – large amounts of Federal Government aged care funding are being siphoned off to profits, not care.
The report released by the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR) details aged care profits being diverted to the upkeep of “lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous” mansions, offshore ventures into China and even church sexual abuse redress schemes.
Alongside large amounts of aged care profits being shifted to other interests, the report Careless on Accountability: Is Federal Aged Care Funding Siphoned Away? shows complicated tax structuring seemingly designed to hide or minimise profits from largely publicly-funded aged care providers.
The report findings include:
- Two founders of listed aged care provider Regis banking $5 million each in shareholder dividends in 2020-21, helping offset the running costs of their mansions in Kew and Toorak.
- Two large not-for-profit providers, Bolton Clarke, largely in Queensland, and Southern Cross Care in South Australia, investing money on separate ventures in China.
- The largest WA provider, Aegis, breaking its financial reporting into such small units that its overall profits are hidden from the public gaze.
- Queensland aged care provider Tricare’s owners obtaining tax benefits from an ownership structure routed through Norfolk Island, while receiving more than $100 million in Federal Government funding.
- The Uniting Church owners of major Queensland provider BlueCare – with aged care services supported by $660 million in Federal Government grants – paid $26 million to the Church itself in 2020-21, including $3 million for a redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse.
The use of profits in the report is contrasted with devastating accounts of the same providers failing staff and failing residents by lapses in offering the quality of care older Australians deserve, exposing repeated cases of systemic neglect.
United Workers Union aged care director Carolyn Smith said the report’s description of profits being shifted out of the publicly-funded system were an outrage given the impacts of understaffing, heavy workloads and a lack of time for quality care on staff and residents alike.
“We have not seen any proof billions in extra Federal Government funding – throughout Covid and this year’s Budget – has made any real difference to the woeful experience of aged care residents in those providers,” Ms Smith said.
“Aged care workers say funding must go to care, not profit. This report shows so much aged care profit and so little aged care.
“It is a fresh outrage to aged care residents and workers alike that so much Federal Government funding is being given to providers, yet so little is tied to improving aged care.”
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