ANUHD calls for a mandated accessibility standard (Gold Level of Livable Housing Design) because it is what ordinary Australians want—a home where they feel safe and included and where they can age in place.
On Friday 30 April 2021, the Building Ministers agreed to mandate the Livable Housing Design Silver Level as a standard for all new housing in the National Construction Code.
The Gold Standard will also be included in the NCC as a ‘technical referral’ meaning states and territories can decide to upgrade to Gold voluntarily.
Whilst there is still work to do to secure a mandatory Gold Standard, this is a big win for people with disability, seniors and indeed all Australians.
Congratulations to everyone who has worked over many many years to secure this critical reform. Millions of Australians will benefit from your hard work. We particularly thank Building Better Homes for directing this campaign over the last year.
Please find the Building Ministers Meeting Communique here: https://www.industry.gov.au/news/building-ministers-meeting-communique-april-2021
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.
The net benefit for Australians outweigh the costs
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.
Activities and reports
Below is a list of the most recent events that support the regulation of an access standard in all new housing in the National Construction Code.
- March 2021 – ANUHD submission to Disability Royal Commission: Promoting Inclusion Issues Paper
- October 2020 – ANUHD submission to the New National Disability Strategy
- October 2020 – ANUHD submission to the review of Premises Standard
- August 2020 – ANUHD submission to the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement for accessible housing
- June 2020 – ANUHD submission to the Disability Royal Commission: Rights and Attitudes Issues Paper
- December 2019 – ANUHD submission to the Disability Royal Commission
- November 2019 – ANUHD submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission
- October 2019 – ANUHD submission to the City of Canterbury-Bankstown
- September 2019 – UNCRPD Committee Concluding observations on the combined second and third reports of Australia
- July 2019 – Minister Karen Andrews grants request for ABCB submissions to the Consultation RIS to be publicly available
- April 2019 – ABCB Accessible Housing Options Paper Consultation Report is released.
- October 2018 – ANUHD submission to ABCB Accessible Housing Options Paper
- June 2018 – ANUHD Survey report released
- June 2018 – Disability Discrimination Commissioner calls for accessible housing for all
- October 2017 – Building Ministers Forum undertakes a RIS to consider access in all new housing in the National Construction Code
- February 2016 – Proposal for Change to the ABCB (refused)
- January 2015 – Progress Report on the National Dialogue on Universal Housing Design