Australia’s six largest family-owned aged care companies make a up a significant and growing portion of the aged care sector and warrant greater scrutiny. These six companies received over $711 million in annual federal funding to operate 130 facilities, with almost 12,000 beds.
Several of the largest family-owned aged care companies, owned by some of Australia’s richest families, have complex corporate structures, intertwined with trusts, that appear specifically designed to avoid tax. Despite receiving an average of nearly $60,000 per year per resident there is very limited public information available on these companies.
These family-owned aged care companies highlight the lack of transparency and accountability on public funding in the aged care sector and provide clear examples of why simple reforms are needed to restore public integrity in both aged care and the broader tax system.
While there is no doubt that the aged care sector will require an increase in public funding, there is also no doubt that these families have made considerable profits from a publicly-funded industry. Before any increase in funding, measures must be put in place to ensure that money is directly spent on improving staffing levels and the quality of care.
The lack of transparency and accountability on public funding must also be examined and addressed by the ongoing Royal Commission into Aged Care.
The report recommends:
- all entities receiving over $10 million in annual federal funding, must file full and complete financial statements with ASIC, with no exceptions;
- immediate formation of a public register of beneficial ownership, including trusts; and
- a minimum tax of 30% on distributions from discretionary trusts and an examination of further trust reforms to bring Australia in line with global standards.