New report reinforces need for transparency in aged care funding

The business practices of Aged Care providers are the subject of a new report released ahead of tonight’s budget. Image: Getty

On the eve of the Federal Budget, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is urgently calling on the Morrison Government to provide accountability and transparency for the billions in additional public funding poured into the troubled aged care sector.

The call comes after a new report released today revealed the financial and tax practices of some of Australia’s largest nursing home operators.

Produced by the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR), their report, Careless on Accountability, is Federal Aged Care Funding Siphoned Away?, analyses the business practices of both publicly-listed and not-for-profit aged care homes across the last two years.

Regis Healthcare, Southern Cross Care, Bolton Clarke, BlueCare and Tricare were among those whose usage of funding was analysed, across a period where providers received increased funding due to COVID-19.

ANMF’s Federal Secretary, Annie Butler said the CICTAR report exposed a lack of transparency and demonstrated 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” Ms Butler said.

“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.”

The CICTAR report can be read here.

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