AGED CARE ROYAL COMMISSION
The millionaire owner of a Gold Coast aged care home says he had no idea the facility was being shut down until he saw flashing ambulance lights.
The July 11 shutdown - and evacuation of 69 residents - was sparked by a dispute between approved aged care provider People Care and HelpStreet, which managed the residential care facilities at Earle Haven Retirement Village.
"I didn't know this thing would happen," People Care owner Arthur Miller told the aged care royal commission in Brisbane on Monday.
"I was in my office, I saw the ambulance and the lights flowing around and so I try to find out what happened and then I went to look at it."
Telecia Tuccori, the clinical manager who rang triple-zero on July 11, said Mr Miller arrived at Earle Haven and caused "a scene".
HelpStreet executive director Karen Parsons told the inquiry Mr Miller went to the facility before ambulances arrived, during a staff meeting.
"Mr Miller arrived at the facility and started to argue with the staff, saying words to the effect of: 'I have received complaints from families that the care in the home is terrible, your care is rubbish, and I no longer want HelpStreet here'," she said in a statement.
Mr Miller denied saying that, or that he would not pay any more money.
He also denied pointing at HelpStreet's global CEO Kris Bunker and saying "since he made all the changes no one wants to come to the home".
Mr Miller said on arrival he noted Mr Bunker was there along with staff and media.
"They say they are going to walk out from there because they are not paying the wage for the employee, which is not true," he said.
Royal commissioner Richard Tracey queried Mr Miller's claim that he did not arrive until after emergency services, given his evidence that he was there in the morning.
Mr Miller said he used to go to Earle Haven every morning to check everything.
"I didn't know that then they were going to move the residents. I didn't know that," he said.
Ms Parsons said she had a poor relationship with Mr Miller.
"Mr Miller was a bully and he was quite intimidating," she told the hearing.
Mr Miller had given HelpStreet one month's notice, on July 8, that it was terminating their agreement.
Mr Miller refused to speak to journalists as he left the Commonwealth Law Courts building in Brisbane, holding his hands in front of his face when questioned by the media as he departed.