The Federal Government has announced the launch of the National Disability Research Partnership which is being led by the Melbourne Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne.
Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, says the National Disability Research Partnership brings together experts in disability policy and research from across the country and around the world to deliver a world-class disability research and policy hub.
“The National Disability Research Partnership will promote the use of evidence-informed policy and practice to ensure people with disability have equal opportunities and are included in all aspects of community life.
“The Partnership will focus on disability and mainstream services including education, health, housing and justice, and facilitate research which recognises the diversity of experiences for people with disability.”
Executive Chair and Director of the Melbourne Disability Institute, Professor Bruce Bonyhady, agrees that the aim of the research is to help create equal opportunity for people with disability.
“We certainly hope that one of the outcomes from this will be the equality of opportunity or a shift towards equal opportunity for people with disability."
Professor Bonyhady says that one of the ways they are making sure to include as many people with disability is by aligning research with the National Disability Strategy and not just the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
"We’re also hoping to align the research with the National Disability Strategy… Because we have a focus on the National Disability Strategy it’s broader than the NDIS, so it’s [about] more people with disability."
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, says that over the next two years, the Partnership will prepare and progress a research agenda, research capability roadmap, and practical guides for disability inclusive research in partnership with the disability community.
“Australia has seen unprecedented change in disability policy over the last decade, including the introduction of the NDIS, which is built on the premise of giving people with disability choice and control over the supports they receive.
“The work of the National Disability Research Partnership will ensure all governments continue to improve on our service delivery...”
Professor Bonyhady hopes that the research the National Disability Research Partnership undertakes will help improve gaps in research and evidence.
“I think one of the missing ingredients in relation to supporting disability has been the lack of a national research agenda.
“While this is an initial phase, we would hope it leads to a long term research agenda designed to include opportunities for people with disability. What’s been missing has been a strong evidence base as to how to do this before.
“There was an audit in 2014, and another one in 2017 and both showed very significant gaps in research in the evidence base.
“Over time we would hope to build up a body of knowledge that [includes] people with disability and their families and carers as well.”
The Federal Government has also committed $15 million for the development of the National Disability Data Asset. It is still in the process of finalising the new National Disability Strategy with states and territories.
You can visit the National Disability Research Partnership website for more information.