Cash-strapped church launches luxury real estate fire sale
A CASH-strapped church is blaming aged care costs for its fire sale of nursing homes and luxury holiday apartments.
The Presbyterian Church of Queensland (PCQ) has appointed corporate insolvency firm McGrathNicol to review its loss-making aged care division, PresCare.
PresCare's multimillion-dollar losses are forcing the church to sell two luxury beachside apartments at Maroochydore, used by ministers and staff for family holidays, as well as three church campsites - Camp Tinaroo, Camp Bunya and Camp Tamborine.
PresCare - which is being sued for $2.36 million by sacked CEO Greg Skelton - is considering the "possible sale and transfer'' of its five nursing homes in the Brisbane suburbs of Carina and Thornlands, and in Townsville, Rockhampton and Maryborough.
The federal government has given PresCare a taxpayer handout to cover higher operating costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to PresCare staff, provided to The Courier-Mail yesterday, new CEO Wayne Knapp says the church will sell its allied health provider Connect2Health, its mobility aid companies Walk On Wheels and Mobility Wholesale Distributors, and Surecom, an information technology provider to the aged care business.
He says "a number of highly reputable aged care providers'' have expressed interest in buying PresCare's home care and community division.
"PresCare and our advisers are considering the possible sale and transfer of our residential aged care facilities and independent living units to operators who are well positioned to continue providing care over the long term,'' the letter states.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) deemed PresCare's Protea Townsville nursing home to be a "serious risk'' to residents after failing a quality inspection in April last year.
ACQSC reaccredited the service after it passed an audit in January.
PresCare made a $12.6 million loss last year, its latest financial report reveals.
In a letter to church members, the Presbyterian Church clerk of assembly, Reverend Stuart Hoadley, linked Prescare's losses to the property sell-off.
"As a result of the review of the funding requirements of PresCare, the Commission of Assembly has regretfully decided that for the long term good of the church a number of PCQ properties will need to be sold,'' he wrote.
"We recognize that this will impact many in our church family, and deeply regret that these decisions have had to be made.''
PCQ moderator Reverend Philip Strong told members of the clergy and congregations in April that "it may not come as a complete surprise that we have decided to reposition our engagement in aged-care ministry''.
A McGrathNicol spokesman told The Courier-Mail yesterday that "PresCare can guarantee that the safety and continuity of care for residents of its aged care facilities remain its paramount priority''.
Mr Skelton, who had been PresCare's CEO since 2013, was stood down from his $500,000-a-year job in February and is suing for compensation in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
PresCare has not filed a response in the Supreme Court.
Originally published as Cash-strapped church launches luxury real estate fire sale