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Hearing to inquire into experiences of poverty and homelessness

At its twenty-sixth public hearing, the Disability Royal Commission will hear evidence from people with disability who have experienced homelessness or live in insecure or inadequate housing in New South Wales and Victoria.

Commencing on Monday 29 August in Parramatta, the five-day public hearing will also hear evidence from representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), other Australian, Victorian and New South Wales Government departments.

Due to generally lower incomes caused by exclusion from employment and reliance on the disability support pension, people with disability have a greater need for affordable and accessible housing. Yet research shows that less than 1% of rental properties in Australia are affordable to people on the disability support pension[1] and people with disability are waiting years for accessible social housing.

Public hearing 26 will consider the:

  • experience of people with disability living in Supported Residential Services (SRS) in Victoria and boarding houses and other insecure accommodation in New South Wales
  • barriers faced by people with disability to gain secure, safe and accessible housing
  • best practice models to support people with disability who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including lessons from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Commissioners will hear from “Colin”, a wheelchair user from Lismore, who was rescued by the ‘tinny brigade’ during the Northern rivers floods. He will describe his experience staying in emergency accommodation involving multiple moves and a lack of accessibility and support since losing everything in the disaster.

The evidence expands on previous Royal Commission witness evidence about what it means for people with disability to have a home – not just a place to live or accommodation.

The hearing at the Park Royal Hotel in Parramatta is open to the media and general public to attend. It will also be live-streamed on the homepage of the Royal Commission website.

An afternoon tea will be held for local Western Sydney associations and advocacy groups to attend and meet with Commissioners and other Royal Commission staff members.

Chair of the Royal Commission, the Honourable Ronald Sackville AO QC, will preside over the hearing and be joined by Commissioners Dr Rhonda Galbally AC, Honourable John Ryan AM and Senior Counsel Assisting Kate Eastman AM.

Journalists wishing to cover the hearing should notify the Disability Royal Commission media team to ensure access to the media room and/or relevant information including schedules and live transcripts.

Please direct all inquiries to the Disability Royal Commission media team on 0436 841 166 or via our email



[1] Centre for Disability Studies (CDS), People with disability and homelessness: an environmental scan of current policy and practice responses in Australia, pg 16, 2021.