It is all playing to a strategy. The Senate Economics Reference Committee has announced it will examine the “financial and tax practices” of for-profit aged care providers, focusing on four main areas:
- the use of any tax avoidance or aggressive tax minimisation strategies;
- the associated impacts on the quality of service delivery, the sustainability of the sector, or value for money for government;
- the adequacy of accountability and probity mechanisms for the expenditure of taxpayer money;
- whether current practices meet public expectations; plus any “related matters.
The news comes just a week after the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Foundation launched the campaign, which claimed the big six For Profit providers took $2.17 billion in government subsidies but paid little or no tax.
The ANMF claims aged care residents receive one-and-a-half hours less care than they should every day – but this figure applies to Not For Profits too (see StewartBrown story).
The Aged Care Guild, which represents the major For Profits, says it welcomes this opportunity for a public review of financial issues in aged care. “We will make every effort to ensure that the Senate inquiry and through that process the Australian public is fully informed. This process is vital to the resolution of issues that we all face in meeting the growing aged care needs in our community,” CEO Lee Hill told us.
The ANMF wants providers to provide proof that government funding is being spent on residents as a pre-requisite to receiving a subsidy.
Will they get their wish? We will find out soon – the Inquiry closes on 8 June and is due to report by 14 August.