PWDA is pleased to make this submission to the Department of Customer Service (Better Regulation Division) Review of the Boarding Houses Act 2012.
People with disability have a right to choose where, and with whom they live, and should have the same housing options as other members of the community.
Boarding houses, including Assisted Boarding Houses, represent a form of congregate housing that does not promote or deliver on the right of people to live independently and participate in the community, which is a right under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 19). Research and inquiries have also shown that people with disability living in congregate forms of housing are more likely to be exposed to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation (Article 12).
We believe that a four-year transition needs to be implemented urgently as part of this Review, and Assisted Boarding Houses (ABHs) cease to be used as accommodation for people with disability in NSW. As such, our key recommendation as part of this Review, is to implement a transition plan for all people with disability who currently live in ABHs, and stop people with disability from entering them in the future.
With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and new housing standards being developed through the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) framework, the Review of the Act represents a significant opportunity for the NSW Government to align its legislative and policy approaches for boarding houses with these changes.
PWDA calls on the NSW Government to close all ABHs, and to support the transition of all people with disability currently living in ABHs into contemporary affordable, accessible housing that enables their right to live independently in the community with the supports they need.
 We note that the Australian Government has established the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. PWDA believes that an area of investigation will be the experiences of people with disability living in congregate accommodation such as boarding houses, where they have been subject to many forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
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