A new report examining the financial and tax practices of some of Australia’s largest nursing home operators, again highlights the urgent need for the Morrison Government to ensure greater transparency and accountability for the billions in additional public funding poured into the troubled aged care sector, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said today.
The report released today by the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability & Research (CICTAR) – titled ‘Careless on Accountability, is Federal Aged Care Funding Siphoned Away?’ – examines the financial practices of several publicly-listed and not-for-profit nursing home operators over the last two years, a period when aged care operators had received additional subsidies to assist in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, which includes examination of Regis Healthcare, Southern Cross Care, Bolton Clare, BlueCare and Tricare, is particularly timely, as many aged care operators seek to secure additional funding from this year’s federal Budget. This is while many chronic issues plaguing the sector continue to be unresolved.
Despite billions in Government funding, nursing homes continue to be dangerously understaffed, with workers in the sector amongst the lowest-paid in the country. Workers, who, despite promised improvements from Government, continue to be disadvantaged. Most recently in relation to the Government’s COVID-19 bonus payment – a new national ANMF poll of more 2,200 aged care workers shows that only 1.4% have received the promised $400 aged care bonus.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler says the findings of the CICTAR Report demonstrate yet again the critical importance of guaranteeing that any increases in funding announced in tonight’s Budget are tied directly to the provision of care for elderly nursing home residents – and not for other purposes as determined by the owners and operators of the aged care facilities.
“We obviously continue to be very concerned that there is still no real accountability over how Government-funded aged care providers are investing their money as the CICTAR report shows, including in some cases in China’s aged care system. This is while food in Australian nursing homes remains sub-standard, there are widespread failures in care due to chronic staff shortages, and the efforts of an overwhelmed, burnt out workforce go unrecognised and inappropriately remunerated by the Morrison Government.
“Mr Morrison must act to ensure that the public’s money is being spent where it’s actually needed – for safe, dignified care of older Australians in nursing homes – it’s the least they deserve.”