Those individuals who are listed and registered under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) have been at the forefront of changes to policy by the Australian federal government.
Since the Australian Governments Disability Reform Council conducted an extensive review and returned their findings in 2018 for housing and accommodation, measures have been implemented to fast track process and avoid common logistical confusion that has backlogged genuine progress for citizens.
Specialist disability accommodation (or SDA for short) has experienced various highs and lows as constituents from all across the country have been vying for access to reliable and suitable housing such as Civic for their physical or mental requirements.
Here we will take stock of the positive progress that has been made, particularly since the advent of the Council’s review.
Immediate Application Process
In previous iterations of specialist disability accommodation policies through the NDIS, individuals, carers and close family members would have to survey all market options off their own accord before making a choice and submitting that through the application process. Now changes to the SDA have bypassed that entire system of operation, allowing participants to submit their application first and then allowing them to make their selection afterwards. This has been an important reversal to the order to avoid a backlogging of applications and fast tracking for those who would otherwise be left frustrated by the delays.
One of the great roadblocks for success with specialist disability accommodation has been experienced through a lack of clarity with pricing and the amount needed from individuals to pay for the services. Through government rebates and private health insurance policies, this domain has been overtly complicated. Now a set pricing structure has been developed to ensure that all fees and payments are transparently provided to participants ahead of time, giving them the opportunity to source rebates and lower rates at their discretion.
No Changes For Participants Happy With Their Accommodation
Whilst there are constituents who are eagerly awaiting changes to legislation and policy when it comes to specialist disability accommodation, there are other participants who do not want their circumstances to change at all. The alterations to policy and new mandates in no way affect those constituents who are satisfied and happy with their environment. Should they consider all of the necessary boxes ticked, they will be left to their own devices.
Greater Levels of Investor Confidence
One key measure that might have been overlooked in the industry of specialist disability accommodation is the inclusion of pre-certification for properties still under construction. A common issue that has delayed the development of these properties is the need to stop and assess what parameters are included for a home, investing hundreds of thousands in the process without the confidence of knowing if it would be approved and certified. Now investors who will either own their own home or invest in a property can continue with the development safe in the knowledge that it already has the certification to proceed.
More Diversity of Locations
Thanks to the recent removal of the majority bedroom rule, individuals registered through specialist disability accommodation are able to pick and choose from more locations than ever before. This past policy would limit the scope for participants opting for suitable housing, but this is a measure that is receiving positive feedback. Sometimes it requires the subtraction of a policy before key additions can be made.
When specialist disability accommodation has been successful, it has been a result of the public and private sectors coming together and innovating projects and ideas for the benefit of the community at large. The 2018 review conducted by the Council has been another important step forward, but the investment and innovation that needs to occur for Australian residents living with disabilities should not rest here.