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

MEDIA RELEASE: New report from Productivity Commission calls for reforms to deliver on national outcomes and inclusion for all people with disability

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) welcomes the findings released in the Productivity Commission’s review of the National Disability Agreement (NDA) and supports an NDA which has at its core the well being and needs of ‘all’ people with disability, their families and carers.

“We look forward to working with all levels of government in ensuring the voice of Queenslanders with disability are part of the planning, design, and implementation of the new National Disability Agreement planned for release in 2020” said Mr Webb, Chairperson of QDN Board of Directors. Mr Webb said, “QDN is pleased to see the recommendations by the Productivity Commission, particularly around advocacy services, community access and inclusion programs, carer service and services to people with psychosocial disability. It is important that people don’t fall through the gaps. I would like to commend the report on its focus on the role and responsibilities of all levels of Government having a focus on delivering on improved outcomes for the 4.3 million Australians with disability, and taking action to deliver on an Australia that is inclusive where people with disability are equal citizens.”

In the report, which was released on 1 February a range of recommendations were announced.  These include the need for a new agreement that promotes co-operation, enhanced accountability with a new performance reporting framework and clarity around roles and responsibilities of governments.  The report found that to improve the well-being and needs of ‘all’ people with disability a collaborative response from all level of governments is needed, extending well beyond the NDIS to many other service systems such as housing, transport, health, justice and education.

QDN CEO Paige Armstrong said today “QDN is pleased that the focus of the NDA extends beyond the NDIS into other systemic policy areas QDN also maintains a strong focus on.  It was clear during our meeting with Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald that he was ready to listen closely to QDN’s submission recommendations, which of course were based on consultative feedback from QDN members”.

The report recommends that the National Disability Strategy (NDS) should continue to play the essential role of articulating policy actions, with these actions being explicitly linked to the goals of the National Disability Agreement.

In recognition of the significant changes in the disability policy landscape since 2008 when the agreement was first signed, a public consultation on the new NDA will start later this year.

We look forward to a new National Disability Agreement that includes strong accountability mechanisms that will make all of our rights reality and guide national disability policy.

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Contact Information  

Paige Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer, 07 3315 5019, ceo@qdn.org.au

MEDIA RELEASE: FEDERAL BUDGET 2018

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Certainty for people with disability to be able to access the supports they need to participate economically and socially in the community is critical. The Treasurer’s announcement that the NDIS will be fully funded in this budget and forward estimates is welcome news especially in