ANUHD supports Option 2—“Let’s do it right first time”—which provides the minimum accessibility standard that is compatible with the objective of the RIS. Option 2 is what ordinary Australians want—a home where they feel safe and included and where they can age in place.
The Melbourne Disability Institute and Summer Foundation submission to the Consultation RIS for an access standard in housing finds:
- Social benefits substantially outweigh the costs to society.
- People with disability have adverse mental health effects, require more support, and have reduced opportunity to work, because of inaccessible housing design.
- Housing designs already incorporate access features into homes, but not in a systematic way.
With us, they call for Livable Housing Design Gold level to be mandated for all new housing.
Why regulate for access in all new housing?
Housing designs do not work for many people
Regulation will lead to more inclusive and sustainable communities now and in the future. Greater accessibility is easily achieved if included at design stage.
An increased supply of accessible mainstream housing is critical to the success of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Aged Care Reforms.
The National Disability Strategy supports access in all new housing
The 2010-2020 National Disability Strategy committed to an agreed level of accessibility in all new housing by 2020. With a few exceptions, the housing industry has not responded. ANUHD anticipated in 2015 that less than 5% of the 2020 target will be met unless these features are regulated. See the report.
The United Nations recommends regulation
In October 2019, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in its Concluding Observations found that a significant proportion of existing buildings are not accessible due to the lack of mandated national access requirements for housing in the NCC.
The Committee recommended that Australia amend the NCC to include mandatory rules on access for all new and extensively modified housing.