Specialist Disability Accommodation

Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, and Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, have announced immediate reforms to boost Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) for eligible National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants last week. 

The reforms are addressing the outcomes and recommendations of a review into the SDA by the Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council, which was completed in December 2018. 

According to Mr. Fletcher,

“The Government is introducing immediate changes to improve choice and control for eligible NDIS participants, build market confidence and drive stronger investment in Specialist Disability Accommodation. These reforms will stimulate construction and supply of SDA properties, creating more diverse accommodation options for NDIS participants.”

Around 750 current providers of SDA will benefit from the changes, as SDA properties under construction will be able to be pre-certified to give investors more certainty that their property will meet SDA design standards on completion.

In addition to this, it will increase participants’ choice and control in their SDA living arrangements, as participants will have the flexibility to live where they want and with whom they want.

The changes in the SDA will also highly benefit young people with high care needs, as the fast-track process in order to receive NDIS funding will decrease the number of inappropriate admissions to a nursing home.

According to CEO of the Summer Foundation, Luke Bo’sher,

“These changes create confidence across the affordable housing and finance sectors to scale up their efforts to create Specialist Disability Accommodation. These changes go a long way towards the vision of an NDIS that enables people with disability to live in high quality, accessible housing integrated in communities across Australia.”

The Department of Social Services and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) are engaging with stakeholders in order to provide input on the immediate implementation of the changes through the establishment of an SDA Reference Group, in which interested individuals and organisations are invited to participate.

Further information, such as the full report from the SDA review and the Disability Reform Council response are available on the DSS website here.

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