As our population ages, more and more Victorians are choosing to remain living in their own homes. This is a choice that everyone should be able to make, but we need more accessible housing to support this choice.
Current housing designs do not work for Victoria’s ageing population. We know that disability and chronic health conditions become more common as people age. In fact, 44.5% of people over 65 have a disability or long-term health condition that may impact on their ability to perform everyday tasks.[i] This means that accessibility is key. We need housing stock that is responsive to peoples’ changing needs. Right now, this is lacking.
When a new home is built, it needs to comply with the specifications set out in the National Construction Code (NCC). However, the NCC does not currently include mandatory accessibility requirements for private dwellings. Without a healthy supply of accessible housing, many older Victorians are unable to exercise choice and control over where they live. Many people are forced to either:
- make costly modifications to try and make their home more accessible
- relocate to a more accessible property that better meets their needs, or
- move into residential care.
Mandatory accessibility standards within the National Construction Code would ensure hundreds of thousands of Australians would have access to appropriate housing. This is essential to enabling all people to live well and age in place.
Early next year, building ministers from across Australia will meet to consider whether to include mandatory minimum accessibility standards in the National Construction Code. The Summer Foundation has launched the Building Better Homes campaign to help show that this change is desperately needed. If you believe that every Australian deserves a home which is safe, secure and meets their needs, then please sign the Building Better Homes petition and support this important cause. The petition will be presented to the Building Ministers Forum at the end of February, and your signature will help strengthen the call for change! Please note that your personal details will not be published online. Your name is the only piece of identifying information that will be included in the petition that will be presented to the Building Ministers Forum.
Hear what prominent Australians have to say.
[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018) ‘4430.0 – Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings’, accessed 22 August 2020, retrieved from <https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4430.0Main%20Features52018>.