Current Projects

Youth Cohort: Improving Disability Employment (Y-IDES)
Dr Allison Milner, Professor Anne Kavanagh,  A/Professor Dennis Petrie, Professor Tony LaMontagne, Dr Cathy Vaughan, Professor Shelley Mallett

This research builds on the Improving Disability Employment Study (IDES) project which is currently underway.  Intervening early to enable young Australians with disabilities to transition into meaningful, sustainable work is likely to have enormous payoffs for their health and wellbeing, as well as reduce economic costs to society. To date, research about employment among young people with disabilities has focussed on the social and economic benefits of programs or policies and has ignored the health benefits. We aim to produce new evidence about the individual, service-related, workplace and contextual factors that contribute to successful employment and health outcomes for young people with a disability and will identify when and where it might be most cost-effective to intervene. Funding: NHMRC  Partnership Project, 2018-2021  Partners: BSL, NDS, VicHealth and DEA. 

Victorian State Disability Plan
Prof Anne Kavanagh,  Prof Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Dr Melanie Davern, Lauren Krnjacki, Prof Eric Emerson, Prof Keith McVilly and Dr Ros Madden

Our team was awarded the tender to develop measurable indicators for the Outcomes Framework of the Victorian State Disability Plan: Absolutely everyone 2017-2020. The indicators will help the government find out how well the Victorian Government is doing in meeting the aims of the State Disability Plan. The indicators cover a range of different domains of life such as community participation, employment, safety and discrimination. A report to Cabinet will be submitted in 2018. Funding: Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Improving public sector market effectiveness
A/Prof Gemma Carey, A/Prof Helen Dickinson, Prof David Gilchrist,  Dr Damon Alexander, Prof Anne Kavanagh, Prof Satisjh Chand

This project partners with the Department of Social Services and with National Disability Services to better understand market stewardship in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The project will use Functional Network Analysis to understand where thin markets appear in Canberra, North East Melbourne and Toowoomba. The network analysis will be complemented by interviews with service providers to understand why any thin markets are emerging, and possible ways of addressing these. This will be followed by group discussions with local, regional, state and national actors to be determine leverage points for market stewardship to ensure that there is equal access to disability services in the NDIS. Funding: Australian Research Council Linkage grant 

Discrimination and bullying against Australians with disability

Prof Anne Kavanagh, Zoe Aitken, Dr Tania King, Dr Naomi Priest, Graeme Innes AM and Prof Gwynnyth Llewellyn
This project describes the extent of bullying and discrimination experienced by Australians with disability, and the impact on their social and economic participation, as well as their health and wellbeing. The project is a collaboration with the Attitude Foundation  whose focus is to relieve discrimination experienced by Australians with disability and shape a new understanding of disability.  Funding: Disability Research Initiative at the University of Melbourne

Discriminatory acts towards young Australian adults with disabilities in public places

Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Professor Eric Emerson, Dr Cathy Vaughan and Dr Jamee Newland
Young Australians (aged 15-29) with disabilities face pervasive disadvantages and institutional discrimination in many areas of life which excludes them from social and economic participation. This project investigates the inter-personal discrimination young people with disabilities experience in public and the impact of this discrimination on their social, economic, cultural and emotional lives. The outcome of this project will be a better understanding of the range and impact of actions and behaviours that young people with disabilities experience as discriminatory, violent or unsafe in public in Australia today.  Funding: Australian Research Council Discovery grant

Social mobility and wellbeing following disability acquisition in working age adults

Prof Anne Kavanagh, Prof Anthony LaMontagne, A/Prof Dennis Petrie, Dr Allison Milner, A/Prof Julie Simpson, Zoe Aitken, Prof Eric Emerson and Prof Tony Blakely
This project looks at the impact that the acquisition of a disability in adulthood has on subsequent socio-economic circumstances (employment, housing, education, income, social capital, wealth) and wellbeing.  Australia currently lacks knowledge on how to target policy to improve the wellbeing of Australians with disability. This project concentrates on working-age Australians (15–64 years) for whom improvements in social and economic participation are likely to produce the largest long-term benefits. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey (HILDA) – a national survey of Australian adults –and in collaboration with stakeholders from government, advocacy groups, and service providers, we will identify policy solutions to enable working age Australians to realise their rights to full social and economic participation in society, as well as reduce health and welfare expenditure. Funding: Australian Research Council Discovery grant

Improving disability employment study (IDES)

Prof Anne Kavanagh, Prof Anthony LaMontagne, Dr Allison Milner, Dr Cathy Vaughan and A/Prof Rebecca Bentley
IDES is a longitudinal study considering how people with disability obtain and sustain long-term employment. The project investigates the financial and health impacts of different employment outcomes on people with disabilities and the findings will identify ways to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities and contribute to new government policies and models of service delivery. Website: Improving disability employment study
Funding: Australian Research Council Linkage grant


Choice, Control and the NDIS

Helen Dickinson, Deborah WarrSue Olney, Anna Arstein-Kerslake, Erin Wilson, Jen Hargrave, Amber Karanikolas, Vasiliky Kasidis, Georgia Katsikis, Jasmine Ozge, Dave Peters, Jacinta Wheeler and Michelle Wilcox
This project explored the degree to which the NDIS is achieving its aims and objectives from the perspective of people with disability using these services. Introduced in 2013, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the most significant reform of disability services in Australia in a generation. The scheme aims to increase both the funding available for disability services and the control that people living with disabilities have over the design and delivery of their care. It does this, in part, by handing greater control over care budgets to people with disabilities and their families so that services might be designed and delivered in a way that better meets their needs. The research process involved community researchers with disabilities working with university-based experts which improved the quality of the project and our ability to collect and analyse evidence effectively. Download a copy of the report (PDF)
Funding: Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne