Former Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, launched the Livable Housing Design guidelines on 13 July 2010. These guidelines provide awareness within the residential design and construction industry and governments about the benefits of incorporating universal design principles into new housing.
They were developed as an outcome of the National Dialogue on Universal Housing Design, established by former Parliamentary Secretary Mr Bill Shorten in late 2009. The National Dialogue brought together representatives from the housing industry, the disability and community sectors and governments to develop options to encourage the housing industry to embrace principles of universal design.
The guidelines describe a number of core easy living elements that aim to make a home more responsive to the changing needs of home occupants.
Universal housing design is housing that meets the needs of all people at various stages of their lives, including people with a disability and senior Australians, and its impact could be profound. Enabling key living spaces and features to be more easily and cost effectively adapted to meet changing needs and abilities, means safer, more suitable housing. It can help increase social inclusion, improve health outcomes, and allow greater independence and increased opportunities for anyone experiencing disability.
The housing industry has embraced these guidelines and has developed a plan which includes an aspirational target of having all new homes meet the guidelines by 2020.