ANMF welcomes Senate inquiry into for-profit providers.
A Senate committee will examine the financial and tax practices of Australia’s for-profit aged care providers.
This follows revelations that the top six for-profit providers received $2.17 billion in government subsidies but paid little or no tax.
A report by the Tax Justice Network showed many for-profit providers, some with foreign ownership, use a variety of corporate loopholes in order to avoid or aggressively minimise tax.
The report was commissioned by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), which represents nursing unions in every state and territory.
Following the report’s release, the Senate Economics Reference Committee announced it would investigate the for-profit sector’s tax strategies and their effect on the quality of service delivery.
The inquiry will also look at whether the government is getting value for money and whether the sector is sufficiently accountable for spending taxpayer money.
The top six operators – Bupa, Opal, Regis, Estia, Japara and Allity – control about 20 per cent of the aged care market and get about 70 per cent of their revenue from government.
The ANMF’s Acting Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, welcomed the inquiry on behalf of aged care nurses and the nursing home residents they care for.
“Aged care residents receive one and a half hours less care than they should, every day. Yet there are no rules to ensure the $2.17 billion in government subsidies given to these for-profit providers is spent directly on their care,” she said.
“The Tax Justice Network report revealed these providers have the financial capacity to employ more nurses and carers but are placing their profits and shareholders before safe care for their residents.
“Many providers do not employ enough staff to adequately feed, wash, toilet, change or give medication to their residents.
“Companies that receive millions of dollars via government subsidies should be required by law to meet higher standards of transparency in financial reporting.
“They should not be given subsidies unless they can show that government money is being directly spent on the care of elderly residents.
“If the government is serious about ensuring quality service provision, it needs to shift its
focus from company tax cuts to company tax collection by closing the loopholes.”
Find out more
Read the ANMF and Tax Justice Network’s report on tax avoidance by for-profit aged care companies: http://anmf.org.au/documents/reports/ANMF_Tax_Avoidance_Full_Report.pdf