News | 23 February 2015

She’ll be right says COAG but housing crisis remains

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The COAG Disability Reform Council is made up of the disability ministers from the state and territory governments and their Federal counterpart Mitch Fifield. Their role is to deliver the NDIS.

You can read the February COAG Disability Reform Council communiqué in full, but in a nutshell they say they are committed to rolling out the NDIS on schedule and are developing the operational plans now, which will be completed by June this year.

“These plans will detail key implementation arrangements for each jurisdiction, and will focus on the preparations required by all parties to ensure the NDIS is successfully implemented consistent with transition agreements,” it reads.

It is pleasing to again hear this commitment to an implementation strategy but there are no signs as yet of any consultation and so many in the sector are concerned that they will not be able to deliver in the given timeframe unless they start right away.

Other areas they are focusing on are workforce, preparedness of service providers, improved information and capacity building. Indeed, it is a massive change for the sector and there is a lot that needs to be done in preparation for the full roll out of the scheme.

But one of the biggest concerns remains – access to appropriate, affordable housing for people with disability. Here is what the communiqué had to say about this issue:

“The Council was updated on work to resolve housing policy issues related to NDIS, including the scope of responsibility to support the housing needs of participants. Ministers noted this policy work is being progressed concurrently with the review of the interaction of the NDIS and mainstream services, and that both processes will report to the Council in April 2015. The Council noted the importance of resolving the interaction of the NDIS and jurisdictional housing strategies in the process of meeting the needs of participants.”

Huh? What?

The fact is there is an NDIS housing options paper sitting on a desk in Canberra somewhere, prepared last year by the National Disability Insurance Agency in response to this very issue.

It’s time to dust it off and start planning right now for what is predicted to be a massive undersupply of houses for people with disability under the NDIS. Enough with the weasel words – let’s see it through.

TAKE ACTION: Take 1 minute to ask the NDIA to release their Disability Housing Options paper.

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