DISABLED people have had the door slammed in their face in a push to change construction rules to make new homes accessible and inclusive.
The Physical Disability Council of NSW has called out Tamworth MP and NSW Minister for innovation and better regulation Kevin Anderson over the state government's refusal to commit to upcoming changes to the National Construction Code (NCC).
The revised code would require all new buildings to have basic accessibility; like a toilet on the ground floor, reinforced bathroom walls for handrails and step-free entrances.
Former carpenter Tony Housden used to install handrails, until a bike accident left him with damage to his spine.
He knows what it's like to be excluded because he quite literally can't get through the door, and how much it costs to modify a home for disabilities. The bathroom alone cost $30,000.
"It is expensive, we did the whole bathroom, it was always going to be challenging," he said.
"Most able-bodied people don't have any concept of what's involved, I'll be honest and put my hand up - even though I fit rails and things for older people, I don't think until I had my accident I understood at all what was involved," he said.
The NCC sets safety and accessibility standards but individual states can modify, or delete them.
Mr Anderson maintains the state government is doing a "significant amount" of work.
"Look at Lancom, 20 per cent of all their builds will be made accessible as part of what they do," he said.
"We as a government are looking at what we can do to continue to grow construction, economic growth and employment.
"Significant costs would be added to new builds if it was mandatory for every apartment to have certain standards in relation to accessibility."
Physical Disability Council of NSW chief executive Serena Ovens said the problem is exacerbated in regional areas where there is a housing stock shortage.
"It's a tiny cost for the whole community, it's beneficial for people who need to age in place, parents with families and prams, people who need to do hospital at home or rehabilitate at home, and for the disability community with more homes to access," she said.
"It's a slap in the face of all the disability regulation we have in place ... access and inclusion is huge for people with physical disability, if we can't get in the door, we can't have a life."
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