Access for elderly by 2020

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The federal government has launched a voluntary code of building design guidelines for new homes that will help to more easily accommodate the elderly and disabled.

The livable housing design guidelines will result in houses being built that are easier to live in, can be adapted more cheaply, and will be easier to sell, according to Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities Bill Shorten, who launched the initiative.

“A few simple design features, such as a reinforced bathroom walls, a flat entry to the house and wide corridors and doorways can make a home suitable for an older person or a person with a disability at minimal cost," Shorten said.

The design guidelines are the result of consultation between the housing indudstry, the disability sector and community, and set an aspirational target for adoption of 2020.

The Gillard Government will invest $1m over four years to promote livable housing.

Key industry groups including the Property Council, Master Builders Australia and the Housing Industry Association have supported the moves and committed to the 2020 target.

Property Council chief executive Peter Verwer said: “Livable housing has great potential for the future. It has low costs and huge returns for homeowners and the broader community.”

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