SDA Pricing Review Released –
News for SDA Assessors

From (Ms) Joe Manton – Director, Access Institute

The Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Pricing Review results have just been released and are available on the NDIS website at the link below. There are a number of reports that relate to this review that incorporate extensive technical data and detail.

The majority of SDA configurations have seen increases in pricing and there is significant variation in individual price changes dependent on Design Category, Build Type, Location Factor, Fire Sprinkler status and GST status, including a limited number of downward price changes.

Also in the report, the recommendations provided below relating to the SDA Design Standard will be of interest to SDA Assessors.

Recommendations – SDA Design Standards
Recommendation 7: Linking SDA Pricing to the Design Standard
The NDIA should undertake a limited price review whenever the SDA Design Standard is revised.

Recommendation 8: Fire Sprinklers
The NDIA should examine, in consultation with participants and providers, the costs and benefits to participants and to Scheme sustainability of amending the SDA Pricing Arrangements to make fire sprinklers mandatory in any new SDA dwelling.

Recommendation 9: National Construction Code
The NDIA and the Department of Social Services should work with the Australian Building Codes Board and other relevant government and industry stakeholders to:
• Provide greater clarity to the sector as to whether the National Construction Code (NCC) prevents SDA dwellings from being classified as Class 1 Buildings; and
• Develop a long-term approach to the classification of SDA dwellings in the NCC that protects the human rights of people with disability to housing choice, appropriately protects

SDA resident participants against fire risks, and provides for a more ordinary home-like environment than that required under Class 3 in the NCC.

The ABCB has recently released an article to clarify building classifications for SDA. Go to https://www.abcb.gov.au/news/2023/ncc-classification-specialist-disability-accommodation

Recommendation 10: Ongoing Appropriateness of Group Homes
The NDIA should examine, in consultation with participants and providers, the costs and benefits to participants and to Scheme sustainability of amending the SDA Pricing Arrangements to phase out the ability of new 4- or 5-bedroom Group Homes to be enrolled as SDA dwellings.

Recommendation 11: Sustainable Development Practices
The NDIA should examine, in consultation with participants and providers, the costs and benefits to participants and to Scheme sustainability of amending the SDA Pricing Arrangements to encourage:
• The installation of solar panels and batteries in new SDA dwellings, noting that these have the capacity to reduce ongoing costs for participants; and
• The use of sustainable, carbon-neutral build materials during the construction of new dwellings.

Supporting Innovation and Encouraging the Provision of SDA
Recommendation 12: Supporting Innovation
The NDIA should create a formal mechanism to assist participants whose needs are unable to be adequately met by the current SDA Design Standard and pricing arrangements to have their housing needs met, via establishing regular rounds of funding for demonstration/pilot/bespoke projects to spark ongoing evolution of SDA in the NDIS, serve participants with specific needs and enable projects that enhance Scheme sustainability.

Recommendation 13: Encouraging Self-Provision
The NDIA and Department of Social Services should work with other relevant Commonwealth and state/territory agencies that have responsibility for existing government-sponsored home loan schemes to examine options to modify the rules of those schemes to enable fair and equitable access by NDIS participants who wish to be SDA self-providers.

Recommendation 14: Tax Incentives for Specialist Disability Accommodation
a) The Australian Government should consider amending the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) (GST free Supply—National Disability Insurance Scheme Supports) Determination 2021 to clarify that the intention of the Determination is that input taxes should be creditable for all SDA developments (whether or not the dwelling is developed and/or owned by an entity other than the SDA Provider responsible for the dwelling’s ongoing management).
b) The Australian Government should consider seeking the agreement of the States and Territories to a consistent national exemption from stamp duty and land tax for SDA dwellings.

Recommendation 15: State and Territory Legacy and Existing SDA
The Australian Government should work with the states and territories which continue to own SDA stock to develop options and timelines for the refurbishment and/or redevelopment of that stock as New Build SDA.

New pricing arrangements commence on 1st July 2023.
Please find here a link to the SDA Pricing Review results:
https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/housing-and-living-supports-and-services/specialist-disability-accommodation/sda-pricing-and-payments/sda-pricing-review

‘Very good – exceeded expectations.’ — Wayne Hilber