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Di Winkler & Peter Mulherin
Only a mandatory approach to accessibility standards will future-proof Australia’s housing for coming generations, and cater to the demands of an ageing population, write Dr Di Winkler and Dr Peter Mulherin outlining the Building Better Homes Campaign.
Given our ageing population, the number of Australians with mobility issues is expected to almost double from 3 million to nearly 6 million within 40 years. In about a month’s time Australia’s building ministers will meet to consider the inclusion of minimum accessibility standards in the National Construction Code (NCC). This will be a critical decision for the millions of Australians with mobility impairments who cannot get access to housing that meets their needs.
Ministers will be choosing between the current voluntary guidelines, or mandatory accessibility standards. The opt-in approach, long favoured by the building industry, has been in place for over a decade and has failed to deliver the promised supply of accessible homes. A recent study by the University of Melbourne found that out of over 1,000 Australians with mobility impairments, 73.6 per cent lived in housing that did not meet, or only partly met their accessibility needs. Only a mandatory approach will future-proof Australia’s housing for coming generations, and cater to the demands of an ageing population.