NSW rejects national plan for new housing to be seniors friendly

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NSW Government will veto proposed building regulations agreed to by every other state and territory in Australia to make new housing safe, secure and liveable for seniors.

Queensland Minister for Public Works and Procurement Mick de Brenni said on 30 April that a national minimum standard for new housing, including:

  • step free home entry and step free showers,
  • mandatory ground level accessible toilets,
  • walls with the capacity to support grab rails in bathrooms and
  • wider corridors and doorways.

The increased cost is expected to add about 1 per cent to a new build.

“The relatively simple and cost-effective fit out of homes with accessibility features would also mean the elderly can stay in their homes longer, enabling full and continued participation in life, like work, volunteering and family interactions,” said Mr de Brenni.

“Seniors deserve to remain active and engaged, with strong connections to family and community, and a safe and secure home can help them age with dignity.”

However, NSW Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson (pictured above) said the proposal was bad policy and not economically sustainable.

“The proposal that building ministers were asked to adopt would have required every single new home or apartment to be constructed to these higher, more expensive standards adding to the cost for all purchasers regardless of their accessibility needs,” Mr Anderson told Downsizing.com.

“The proposal did not require owners of existing homes to take any action. It was a blunt, inflexible, and unworkable proposal that gave states and territories no capacity to vary the type, location, or the number of dwellings to which the standard would be applied to.”

The population aged 75 or more years is expected to rise by 4 million from 2012 to 2060, increasing from about 6.4 per cent to 14.4 per cent of the population. Surely it makes sense to build new homes capable of keeping a senior person at home for as long as possible.

It appears to me that the NSW Government is paying more attention to developers than to the needs of a significant portion of its population.