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SDA Reforms - What does it all mean?

Today Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, and Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, announced immediate reforms set to boost Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) for NDIS participants.

So what does this mean?

Speaking at the opening of a new SDA development by community housing organisation, Summer Housing in Fairfield in Victoria, Mr Fletcher said the reforms address the outcomes of a review into SDA by the Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council, completed in December 2018. You can read the full recommendations here.

“The Government is introducing immediate changes to improve choice and control for eligible NDIS participants, build market confidence and drive stronger investment in Specialist Disability Accommodation,” Mr Fletcher said.

“These reforms will stimulate construction and supply of SDA properties, creating more diverse accommodation options for NDIS participants.”

Mr Fletcher said 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.

“SDA prices will not change unexpectedly and can be adjusted up if systemic cost pressures emerge. SDA properties under construction will be able to be pre-certified to give investors more certainty that their property will meet SDA design standards on completion.”

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, said the Government is committed to increasing participants’ choice and control in their SDA living arrangements.

“The Government is also working towards removing restrictions by July 2019 in the SDA Rules that currently prevent some families from living together.

“This will give participants more flexibility to live where they want and with whom they want,” Ms Henderson said.

Youngcare welcomes today’s announcement. After advocating and assessing current trends in the market, we are finally seeing much needed change.

“By restoring confidence in the SDA market, we hope to see a more optimistic environment which will allow for bespoke housing solutions for young people with high care needs.” Anthony Ryan, Youngcare CEO

We believe that after some turbulence in 2018, the sector can now be reassured that efficient SDA responses and planning will result in an easier transition for young people with high care needs. Young people with disabilities, who need a specialist built housing solution, will now experience a more efficient process to help them move out of inappropriate housing and into their own home where they can live with the independence and choice that they deserve.

Key outcomes from today’s release include:

  • New SDA pricing and payments framework – price certainty
    • This new framework is more transparent, detailing price adjustment methods for investors and developers
  • New SDA Price Guide
  • NDIS SDA Reference Group
    • The NDIS is seeking representatives across a number of sectors to give feedback on NDIS and SDA reforms
  • Participant Pathway
    • Participants may now directly test their eligibility for SDA.
    • More detail has been provided about how to develop SDA in Plans when the dwelling is not available at that time, as well as information about alternate interim options
  • Pre-registration of dwellings
    • SDA developers will now be able to pre-register dwellings for SDA off the plan or during construction.
    • Pre-certification will enable Participants to have greater visibility of the SDA properties that may be becoming available in their desired location.
  • Individualised and family living
    • Resolution will be provided surrounding previous dis-incentivisation of SDA participants living with non-SDA participants

If you’d like more information on SDA and what it means for you, make sure to purchase tickets to our Get Building: SDA conference. The conference will showcase what the SDA market has achieved to date, with stories of some great outcomes. Key note speakers on the day will be Robert DeLuca CEO of the NDIA and Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher. Tickets can be purchased here.

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