The Queensland Government is wasting no time in adopting access features for all new homes. The Government is preparing industry for the changes to the National Construction Code agreed by state building ministers in April. The Victorian Government is doing the same. Only New South Wales, Western Australia, and South Australia are bucking the trend.
New South Wales believes it is already doing a good job. So they are refusing to adopt the changes to the building code. However they are only able to claim 125 dwellings to Silver level in the last year. Social housing is only 5% of the total housing market, so that is a drop in the bucket. Old stock is still inaccessible. The claims were reiterated by Minister Anderson in a NSW Senate estimates committee meeting (page 20 of Hansard).
The Queensland Government is keen to support industry and local government to transition to the new requirements. “This will make a real difference to the large number of people who struggle to find accessible housing”.
The Victorian Government’s media release encourages all jurisdictions to adopt the changes. If all states and territories adopt the standard we should have 50% of housing stock with access features. The Minister for Planning said that it is time a regulatory standard for all housing in Australia. That’s because the voluntary solution hasn’t worked.
The Master Builders Association in Victoria is still complaining about the changes. They have been the major barrier to implementation in the last eleven years. Their claim that a voluntary standard is best has not resulted in any mainstream accessible homes.
There are more posts on the 20 years of campaigning by advocates in the Housing Design Policy section of this website.
Why wouldn’t you?
The catch cry “Why wouldn’t you? is the three word tag used in promotional material to promote universal design in housing. A builder, and a building designer are calling their collaboration Project Silver.
The six minute video (below) puts the case very well. It includes contributions from different people, including the mayor of the Sunshine Coast. It’s worth a watch. Another builder in Townsville is telling the same story.
Editor’s comment: The builder claims Silver Level costs an additional $3000 to potentially save $60,000. Possibly it is another way to sell an “extra” and therefore the customer pays over and above the actual cost of the features.