MEDIA RELEASE: Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Reforms to improve choice, inclusion and control for Queenslanders with disability

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) welcomes the announcement on 8 February 2019, by the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Families and Social Services that is introducing reforms to  remove barriers to access to Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) housing for eligible National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.

Ms Paige Armstrong (Chief Executive Officer – QDN) said, “I am very pleased to see these reforms. We know that it is everyone’s fundamental right to have a place to call home so it is positive to see these recommendations that will deliver greater choice and control by people with disability who are eligible for SDA housing. QDN supported and contributed to the Summer Foundation submission that was put forward to the Federal Government about the changes needed to deliver better access and outcomes to SDA, so it is great to see the reforms reflecting what stakeholders have identified.”  These reforms will stimulate construction and supply of SDA properties, creating more diverse accommodation options for NDIS participants. Ms Armstrong said” QDN’s Housing Position Paper, “Going for Gold: Accessible, Affordable Housing Now” is built upon 4 principles of rights, choice, inclusion and control. From QDN’s work in the housing space, we know how important it is to have a range of strategies in place that enable all parts of the market to achieve more accessible and inclusive housing. It is positive to see these actions focus on increasing choice and control for eligible participants, and respond to market needs to increase confidence and drive greater investment.”

Mr Nigel Webb, Chairperson QDN Board of Directors said he was delighted that for the first time, SDA will be included in participants plans up front, so participants, their carers or families can go into the market and find or commission a home that suits their individual needs. “Participants will have more control about  where they want to live and with whom they want.  Changes to the SDA rules will allow SDA participants to live with non-SDA participants and share rooms, which is critical to keeping families together. However more work needs to be done around removing the barriers and disincentives. It is vital that the 28,000 Australians with disability who need SDA housing can get what they need, in a timely and straightforward way, so it is very positive to see the proposed changes that are going to assist this to happen”, he said.

In support of these reforms the NDIA will establish an SDA Reference Group, representing participants, providers, investors and other key stakeholders, to build the SDA market. Providers will be encouraged to commit to SDA with the current prices being extended to 2023 and a special price review to increase prices for sub-market SDA payment levels.

QDN welcomes the agreed reforms that includes the setting up of a national SDA panel to fast track SDA approvals for those with the most urgent needs, such as young people with disability living in aged or nursing care homes and participants in hospital waiting for appropriate housing.

The Disability Reform Council (DRC) has agreed to a number of actions that will be in operation by July 2019, and QDN is pleased that this will focus on giving participants clear, consolidated information, and driving innovative design and responses as part of an SDA innovation plan. KPMG was commissioned to review the SDA framework and pricing and has made 18 recommendations. The full report can be found at this link.

QDN commends the NDIA for acting quickly on the reforms and welcomes changes which will result in more choice, inclusion and control for Queenslanders with disability.

A copy of QDN’s housing position paper “Going for Gold: Accessible, Affordable Housing Now” can be found here

Contact: Paige Armstrong, CEO, QDN, Ph: 0408720099