Bill Shorten, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Having a safe home living arrangement is fundamental to the quality of life for every Australian.
People with a disability have the right to a safe living arrangement.
Since it was introduced about a decade ago, the National Disability Insurance Scheme has made great strides in improving the lives of people with a disability.
We have moved from a fragmented, state-based, crisis driven funding scheme to a coordinated and consolidated scheme with significant funding and resources.
But there are some areas and service types where there is more work to do, and one of those areas is Supported Disability Accommodation, specifically types of accommodation commonly known as group homes.
The Australian Government is determined to improve the lives of people who live with disability in group homes, and the report which we are releasing today contains important information about what’s being done well and what isn’t and what we need to do about it – so that we can fulfil that great human right of people with disability the right to live in safe and appropriate housing and accommodation.
Linda, NDIS Participant
(interviewer off screen) If you had your dream house, if you could have anything in your house – what would you have?
Here. I’m happy here.
(interviewer off screen) You're happy here?
Tracy Mackey, NDIS Commissioner
The majority of people with disability who are living in supported accommodation live with other people in shared arrangements, we often refer to this as group homes.
While the experience of so many people who live in these homes is really good, we know through feedback, complaints and incidents over quite a number of years that there’s still many improvements to be made.
That’s why the NDIS Commission launched what we call an Own Motion Inquiry into Supported Accommodation.
Today we are releasing the Inquiry report, which includes multiple findings and observations to improve the supported accommodation sector.
Those observations include:
- We need to make it easier for people with a disability who live in group homes and other types of supported accommodation to make changes when they want to about their living arrangements.
- We also need to make it easier for people living in group homes to access and have the opportunity to express the same choices and control over their NDIS supports, as their peers across the NDIS.
- The organisations which provide services within these settings need to work to improve the culture and capability of the workforce. While we know many of their staff are of a really high standard and we’ve heard that first-hand from participants, but there are a minority of staff that don’t have the right attitude and skills, and drive a high number of the issues that participants experience.
- We also need to improve the way the health and supported accommodation systems work together, so residents with really complex health needs can more easily access the help they need when they need it
- And we need to collect and report better data on supported accommodation so that we can identify and address risks and prevent harm to participants.
Throughout this whole process we have made many observations about changes that are needed to supported accommodation, and we will continue to work with people with a disability to put those observations into action to improve their experience.
The Commission has already identified key actions that we will take in response to the Inquiry, including around improving regulation, monitoring, standards and communication.
These proposals and actions can be viewed on our website, and we will certainly be undertaking lots of consultation about them with people with disability.
I’d really like to thank all of the residents we spoke with throughout this process. Your input was highly useful and greatly valued, and has really helped us shape this report, and more importantly will help us improve the lives and experiences of people in supported accommodation.