The Disability Reform Council (DRC) met last Monday 20 November to discuss a range of issues involving the NDIS rollout to date. One of the most anticipated topics on the agenda was the current status of SDA in terms of the number of dwellings registered and overall participant numbers.
Here is the communiqué released by the DRC. Reading between the lines, the key messages from the communiqué include:
1. 5,331 participants have received SDA payments and 403 dwellings have been registered for SDA – whether these are just new builds or includes existing / legacy dwellings is unknown. I suspect that the number includes all SDA so it includes existing and legacy stock as well as new builds.
2. The DRC requested the NDIS Board to provide further information to the market and consider mechanisms to further encourage SDA investment. This statement suggests that the DRC is aware that SDA delivery, especially new builds, is falling farther and farther behind where delivery needs to be to meet the demand for new SDA. In line with what we have been highlighting for most of 2017 to date, to stimulate greater supply of new SDA there needs to be greater certainty around SDA payments. In particular, SDA payments either need to be “grandfathered” from the date a new build is registered or there needs to be a range set for the maximum price movement possible at a price review. Without one of these approaches there simply is not enough certainty of price continuity for banks or other financiers / investors to make investment decisions.
3. The Council has agreed to develop Terms of Reference for the 2018-19 review of the SDA framework. The SDA framework is the document that establishes the price setting approach and the overall model of how SDA is to operate so it is a very important document.
We will be closely monitoring and where possible contributing to the development of the Terms of Reference as the framework review has the opportunity to finally remove some of the significant barriers to SDA investment and therefore delivery.
It is encouraging to see that the DRC is aware of the drastic under-supply of SDA within the NDIS to date. The framework review scheduled to commence in the later part of 2018 is an opportunity to re-invigorate supply of new SDA and we are hopeful that the Terms of Reference identifies the payment issue noted in this article as well as many other current barriers to SDA supply. Given the lead time to supply SDA that is ready to live in, lets hope that some interim steps are also taken in the immediate short term.