For profit aged care providers must account for billions in taxpayer subsidies

ANMF Media Release. Canberra, 22 November, 2018.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), is calling on the Senate Economics Reference Committee investigating the financial and tax practices of Australia’s for-profit aged care providers, to support its recommendations which will ensure greater transparency and accountability of taxpayer-funded subsidies for the sector.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said evidence given to the Inquiry had clearly demonstrated that many of Australia’s top-for-profit providers still have questions to answer over their use of aggressive tax minimisation schemes, whilst receiving billions of dollars of Government subsidies meant for the care of elderly nursing home residents.

“We’ve had confirmed that there’s simply no accountability or transparency for the $2.17Billion in taxpayer funding given to the largest, for-profit operators, which makes up over 70% of their total revenue,” Ms Butler said today.

“Our members are increasingly distraught that these big operators clearly have the financial capacity to be employing more nurses and carers, but are choosing to put their profits and returns to shareholders before the safe care of their elderly residents.

“As we’ve seen highlighted in the Four Corners’ exposes of the neglect and abuse in the aged care sector, vulnerable Australians are suffering as a result of nurses and carers being sacked and care hours being slashed at nursing homes across the country.

“But instead of using Government funding for the safe, best practice care of the elderly, for-profit providers, some foreign-entities, are maximising their profits and dividends, getting away with paying little or no tax through their use of complex corporate structures and related party transactions.

“The Inquiry has heard that large operators like Singapore-listed Opal (part-owned by AMP Capital) paid its owners more than $15 million in dividends in the year that the operating company paid no tax. Another major provider, Allity, never paid income tax and used a 15% interest loan to eliminate its tax liabilities.

“Bupa and Regis didn’t even appear at the Inquiry, with the Acting Chair, Senator Jenny McAllister saying that it ‘raises questions about what they have to hide’.

“The ANMF is pleased that the Inquiry has lifted the lid on the tax practices of Australia’s big for-profit aged care providers and to ensure transparency and public accountability we are calling on Senators to adopt our two recommendations to the Inquiry:

1. That any operator receiving over $10Million in Government funding must be required by law to file full audited financial statements with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

2. That companies disclose all transactions between trusts or similar parties that form part of their corporate structures.”

Senators will hand down their findings next Tuesday, 27 November.

To view a report by the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability & Research (CICTAR) – Who Cares For What? Australia’s Largest For-Profit Nursing Home Chains – go to:

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