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10.7.11 Ride on mowers and synthetic lawn

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Last amended 
28 July 2016

Ride on mowers

Ride on mowers are sometimes requested as an aid or appliance to enable a person to manage the maintenance of a rural property, particularly where their service related injury or illness makes it difficult for them to use a motor mower.

It is important to note that:

  • once an aid or appliance is provided to a client through section 39(1)(e) of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) or subsection 56(1)(c) of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), DVA becomes responsible for all of the ongoing repair, maintenance and replacement of that aid or appliance;
  • Rehabilitation Coordinators are required to consider the cost effectiveness of providing an aid, appliance or alteration and whether any alternatives exist that could provide support to the client in managing their activities of daily living; and
  • DVA does not provide appliances such as rowing machines or cross trainers for home exercise use due to the risk of moving parts deteriorating and the resulting potential safety risk to clients.

It is not considered appropriate or reasonable for DVA to provide ride on mowers due to the ongoing costs associated with keeping the mower in good working order, and the potential risk to clients of injuring themselves while using the mower. It is also not considered appropriate or reasonable for the department to provide funding to enable a client to upgrade a ride on mower that they currently own.

Provision of lawn mowing through the household services provisions is considered a reasonable alternative to purchasing a ride on mower for a client's use. The policy guidelines on lawn mowing can be found in section 7.2.6 of this Guide.

Depending on the client's specific individual circumstances, a Rehabilitation Coordinator may consider whether it may be appropriate to investigate the possibility of short term hire of a ride on mower. Delegates are requested to contact the rehabilitation policy section through rehabilitation@dva.gov.au before considering this course of action or discussing it with a client.

Synthetic Lawn

Synthetic lawn is sometimes requested as an alternative to the department continuing to pay for ongoing lawn mowing under the household services provisions.

It is not considered reasonable that the department fund the installation of synthetic lawn. This is because synthetic lawn is not considered an aid or appliance under section 56 of the MRCA or section 39 of the SRCA.

The installation of synthetic lawn is also not likely to impact a client’s ability to safely access and utilise their property. It therefore cannot be considered as a building alteration, as described in section 10.7.8 of this Guide. However, if a Rehabilitation Coordinator has received a report from a home assessment for a client with severe mobility issues such as paraplegia, which indicate that special circumstances may apply, they are encouraged to contact rehabilitation@dva.gov.au for advice.

The installation of synthetic lawn is regarded as being similar in nature to household maintenance, or the installation of infrastructure such as landscaping. It would not be unreasonable to employ a third party provider to undertake this activity. Therefore the installation of synthetic lawn can also not be approved through the household services provisions of the MRCA or the SRCA. Further information about this can be found in section 7.1.1 of this Guide.