Today Is the Biggest Day for SDA Since Launch

SDA 2019: It’s Time – It REALLY Is!

Today, after many years of agitating and advocating we have finally received some VERY good news about SDA. Via the Disability Reform Council (DRC) and multi-agency press releases we now have the outcomes of the SDA Framework Review – and its all good news!!! Combined with this information, the NDIS has also released a new Price Guide and some other important information.

There is so much to cover so we will focus on the key points for now.

Disability Reform Council (DRC) – Response to the Review of SDA Pricing and Payments Framework.

The DRC has revealed the findings of the SDA Framework Review and the actions that will be taken as a result. The full transcript can be found here.

Many of the really exciting elements of this publication are outlined below.

New SDA Pricing and Payments Framework  - Price Certainty

One of the biggest barriers to the injection of many billions of dollars needed to deliver SDA has been the doubt around what could happen to the SDA prices at the 5 yearly reviews. Well, we now know. The new Framework details the method by which prices may be adjusted, so it is now relatively transparent and can be modelled no differently to any other property development/investment when undertaking financial viability assessments. It also notes an opportunity to lift (not reduce) prices by special consideration in regions where the prices are not delivering SDA supply – good news for both remote areas and the larger capital cities

The new framework can be found here.

The Framework also addresses publicly owned land arrangements and details how prices can be adjusted to reflect these scenarios.

New SDA Price Guide

The new SDA Price Guide (back dated payments to 1 July 2018) has lifted the 2017/18 prices by 1.9% or CPI, thus further underlining the new approach to annual price reviews.

There does not appear to have been any changes to the location factors. This is a little disappointing as the current factors typically do not accurately reflect regional variances to costs.

It is interesting to see that the prices for legacy accommodation have been included for the first time. The new Price Guide also reiterates the original SDA pricing assumptions to remind people how the prices were calculated.

NDIS SDA Reference Group

One of the other DRC announcements was the publication of the Terms of Reference and EOI Form for the SDA Reference Group. Details can be found here. The NDIS are seeking representatives from the following sectors to join the group:

  • NDIS participants, families and their representatives

  • Providers of SDA (including Community Housing Providers and State and Territory Governments)

  • Investors and financiers

  • Developers

  • Other key stakeholders (e.g. research and policy organisations).

We understand NDIA wish to get the reference group up and running as soon as possible. Applications are due by Friday 22 February, with a decision on membership two weeks after that. If membership is selected carefully it will be a good forum to get more stakeholder feedback directly to NDIA on SDA.

Participant Pathway

Gone is the need to investigate every possible non-SDA accommodation option when exploring housing solution for Participants. Participants may now directly test their eligibility for SDA. There is also more detail provided about how to develop SDA in Plans when the dwelling is not available at that time,  as well as information about alternate interim options.

The SDA eligibility process will be improved with a dedicated national team of senior staff to guide the planning and assessment processes, and to provide greater assistance to Participants in the process.

Pre-Registration of Dwellings

Processes will be established to enable SDA developers to pre-register dwellings for SDA off the Plan or during construction. This removes the perceived risk of registration that previously existed. There will also be new design guidelines available by May 2019 to add further clarity to the design requirements. The pre-certification will also enable Participants to have greater visibility of the SDA properties that may be becoming available in their desired location.

Families

The DRC also described further initiatives that are to be addressed in a revised SDA Rule. The Rule is expected to be operationalised by July 2019. In particular, the previous disincentive surrounding Participant with SDA wanting to live with non-SDA people is to be resolved.

Continuity of Support – Accommodation

A final note – on February 7 a grant round was released for Continuity of Support accommodation provider funding up until the end of June 2020. Responses are due by February 20th!! This is really important for any providers who provide accommodation to people with disability over age 65. Click here for more information.

SDA 2019 – It’s Time

Those of you that have already signed up or have seen our up-coming forums will notice we were not kidding with the forum series title: SDA Forum 2019: It’s Time!! Please come along to what is the most important of the SDA Forums we have run to date, and learn about all the exciting changes to the SDA market in depth and network with others from all aspects of the SDA market.

Image: ‘No 8. Urquart St Northcote (Edmond House)’ by Chris O’Brien, 2017, glazed porcelain, 19 x 11 x 18 cm, image courtesy of Arts Project Australia.