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NSW Budget Misses the Mark on Accessible Housing and Royal Commission Recommendations

A headshot photo of Kelley Temple, Systemic Advocacy Manager
Kelley Temple, Systemic Advocacy Manager

The NSW 2024-2025 Budget makes significant infrastructure investments but fails to show financial commitments to improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

In March 2024, PDCN and 17 other disability advocacy organisations in NSW submitted a pre-budget request through the NSW Disability Advocacy Network. We called for longer-term funding contracts, improved transparency about future funding, and increased support for advocacy organisations to assist with the Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review. We are disappointed that none of these requests were addressed in the budget released this week.

“The disability community is disappointed that NSW Government is yet to adopt the National Construction Code Silver Level Livable Design Standards, meaning new housing will be inaccessible for people with physical disabilities. We call on the government to adopt these principles or outline a plan to address the severe lack in accessible housing for people with physical disability.

“We await the NSW Government’s response to the Disability Royal Commission recommendations next month. So far there has been no funding allocated to supporting a whole of government approach to implementing the recommendations our community needs. It is critical that the NSW Government set aside funding to address the appalling stories of abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation heard in the Royal Commission.

“We are calling on the NSW Treasurer to use the ‘Whole of Government’ funds that have been allocated for decisions finalised after the budget to be used to resource the NSW Government approach to consultation and co-design following the Disability Royal Commission and the move towards foundational supports.”

~ PDCN CEO Ed Morris

PDCN welcomes the $5.1 billion investment in social housing and the $8.4 million for the rental commissioner to develop and enforce renter protections. However, legislative changes are urgently needed to protect renters with disabilities from no-grounds evictions and to grant them the right to request home modifications. Continuing to build discriminatory housing incurs significant opportunity costs. Incorporating Silver Level Livable Design features during construction is 22 times more cost-efficient than future retrofitting, saving money for property owners, renters, and governments.

PDCN supports the introduction of the bulk billing initiative which will support people with disabilities who need to access a GP and may otherwise skip medical appointments due to the prohibitive cost. There is potential for the Single Digital Patient Record to improve the health care experiences of people with disabilities if accessibility and communication needs are integrated and disability inclusion is prioritised in the development of this record.

We also welcome the investment in light rail, which many of our members find more accessible than other forms of public transport. However, there has still not been an update from the NSW Government about the future of the Park’nPay scheme which supported people with disabilities to find accessible parking spots.

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