Advocates for universal design features in all new homes are nervous. State and territory building ministers will be making a decision on whether to make access features mandatory. Industry is advocating for no change to the building code. Some states claim they are already addressing the problem of accessible housing through piecemeal planning policies. Others think it’s something the NDIS is doing. Regardless, we need all new homes fit for purpose.
The evidence shows is not difficult to achieve – it’s very doable. But evidence has largely been ignored about the need, the cost effectiveness, and the technical issues for more than ten years. Will the evidence count, or will it be a political decision?
What will sway the politicians when they meet and vote on this in March? Will it be the evidence? Will it be the lobbying from industry? Will it be the lobbying from advocacy groups? Or will it be the voice of the people from a public petition?
Petitions are about people power. This is a one-time opportunity to sign the petition to give everyone a better chance of staying at home regardless of age or ability.
Every new home built today has a 60 percent chance of having an occupant with a disability. Moreover, more than 30% of households currently have a person with disability – and this affects all members of the household. And it’s not just about people who use wheelchairs – it’s a mainstream issue.
You can find several research papers and articles on housing design policy on this website. The history of twenty years of advocacy and links to our international obligations are useful background. Our free online course on housing policy and universal design is also worth a look.