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Specialist Disability Accommodation Conference Hobart 

Thank you to all who attended the 7th Conference for 2022, the SDA Conference Hobart on 16th Nov 2022. 

The event saw a full room of interstate and local delegates, SIL Providers, Builders, Property Developers, SDA Providers, Fund Managers, Financiers and more  in attendance. 

We thank our Sponsors Insurance Advisernet, NDIS Property, Hafele for their support. We were honoured by the presence and time contribution of the Minister of Disability, Honourable Jo Palmer 

We look forward to the 2023 Conference in Hobart, details coming soon. 

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 Who attended?


SDA Providers | SIL Providers |  Builders | NDIS Registered Providers | Architects | Property Developers | Investors | Access Consultants | SDA Assessors | Financiers

 Fund Managers | Assisted Living Providers | Suppliers of innovative SDA Solutions 

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Honourable Jo Palmer

Minister for Disability Services,

Minister for Primary Industries and Water,Minister for Women,
Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence,Deputy Leader for the Government in the Legislative Council, Liberal Member for Rosevears

Jo Palmer MLC was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and moved to Tasmania as a baby after being adopted by an Australian family.


Jo served Tasmania for 20 years as a trusted journalist and news reader for Nightly News 7 Tasmania. Originally employed by the station in Hobart as a journalist, she is a former Miss Tasmania and in 1993 she was awarded Miss Australia. Jo presented the hour-long Nightly News on 7 Tasmania, leaving the station after 18 years.


Jo Palmer was elected to the Legislative Council in August 2020, representing the electorate of Rosevears. Rosevears covers the West Tamar area from Greens Beach and Beauty Point down through to Riverside, as well as the Launceston suburbs of Trevallyn, West Launceston, Summerhill and Prospect.


Jo Palmer lives with her husband and children in West Launceston, having grown up in Trevallyn since the age of six.


Jo has supported the community in Ambassador roles for sick or traumatised children, people with disabilities and medical research. She is a Tasmanian of the Year recipient for her charity work.


Jo was appointed to Deputy Leader of the Legislative Council in May 2021 and has served on various committees including a Select Committee on Taswater, Deputy Chair Committee for Disability Services in Tasmania, Road Safety in Tasmania Select Committee and Joint Standing Committee on Integrity.


In April 2022 Jo was elevated to Cabinet as Minister for Women, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Minister for Disability Services and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence.

CONFERENCE TOPICS                              

Opening Remarks 

Honourable Jo Palmer MLC 
Minister for Disability Services

The State of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) in Australia

Presented by  Lalia Burnet | National Director Health, Aged Care and Seniors Living

M3 Property

•    Factors influencing investment in the sector
•    Investment Benefits and Pitfalls
•    Future Outlook

Opportunities available for the property sector to deliver accommodation for NDIS and SDA participants 

Presented by Alison McLeod | InHab Australia

This presentation includes ;

  • Disability accommodation opportunities in the property sector

  • NDIS current state of play

  • Funded accommodation options for people with disabilities

The  facts about SDA Property Insurance – and why a Domestic Landlords policy is not enough to protect you and your premises

Presented by Jeremy Thornton | Director | Insurance Advisernet 

Despite all the strict guidelines surrounding construction of Specialised Disability Accommodation, getting your NDIS SDA property insured correctly has been a difficult process.

Jeremy Thornton of Insurance Advisernet will talk you through the process and what to look for when protecting your investment -  whether it be Improved Liveability, Fully Accessible, Robust or High Physical Support


This presentation will help you understand what cover you need and what steps you should take to mitigate the risk with and without Insurance.

The future of SDA with interest rate rises and cost of living pressures

Presented by Justin MacDonald |  Director | Just Advisory Services 


Justin will provide an in- depth overview of  the current state of SDA and the future of SDA  in the short and medium term.
His presentation will include the potential impacts will be with factors such as:
•    Interest rate rises
•    Cost of living pressures
•    Government changes at Federal and state level
•    Supply chain challenges
•    Access to mainstream bank funding
•    Increased building and construction material costs.

From the past we will then look to the future and what past indicators may tell us about the next 2-5 years in the sector and what does it mean for growth and expansion of the SDA sector?

Justin will  then discuss:
•    SDA integration into the community
•    Access to properties with a suitable design in a suitable location with a suitable configuration and layout.
•    Participant approval rates, participant numbers, 
•    NDIS funding and supports, 
•    Discussions around investment and access to mainstream funding channels

Is it all doom and gloom, or is there some upside for the sector?

​Understand the type of contracts  required to develop and operate an SDA Property under the NDIS 

Presented by Tony Rutherford | Partner

Holding Redlich 

Current SDA Landscape
Legal Framework 
SDA Funding Entitlement

Structuring your SDA development
The Basics
Contractual structures and risk allocation
Risk mitigation including interface and funding 

AAT Appeals Process and SDA
Requirements prior to AAT application
AAT process


SDA eligibility, participant preferences and recent review and appeal outcomes.


Presented by Greg Barry | Founder and Principal

SDA Services 

•    The 2 SDA Eligibility criteria – what they have in common – what distinguishes them – examples
•    The SDA needs requirement – how it works

Preferences and recent outcomes
•    Participants’ preferences as to building types – which includes living arrangements preferences – numbers of bedrooms etc. 
•    What weight attaches to preferences?
•    What’s happening around this? Recent AAT decisions.
•    Preferences and the Article 19 of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Reaching Beyond the Standards – Understanding the disparity between Local Planning Codes, National Construction Code and the SDA Design Standards and how to navigate the landscape to develop high quality SDA.

Presented by : David Watson
Director | Architect | SDA Assessor | NDIS Registered Provider 
ArchR Design 

Currently Local Planning Codes do not have the flexibility and understanding to handle Multi-residential SDA Developments. These are not Residential Care facilities, Community Residences or Respite centres. There needs to be a mechanism that will permit council approval while also allowing ownership of apartments/ townhouses/ duplex.


Compliance with National Construction Code is not always simple either, items such as ‘flush thresholds’ require performances solutions to deviate from the acceptable solutions under the NCC. Not to mention the mandates from Private Certifiers/Surveyors to develop Multi-Residential SDA under Class 3 to mitigate fire evacuation risks.


In this session, David will discuss:

  • Common misconceptions around multi-residential SDS and town planning schemes

  • Performances solutions around SDA Design Standards and the National Construction Code

  • What in this market is considered ‘Industry Best Practice’

Challenges and Guidelines for NDIS home modifications

Presented by David Watson | Director | Architect | SDA Assessor | NDIS Registered Provider 

ArchR Design 

This presentation will discuss; 
•    Different types of home modifications (Adaptation, Minor, Complex) 
•    What is not covered under the NDIS
•    Approval process for CHM home modifications;  
a)    Plan approval
b)    Assessment
c)    Final steps

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