News archive

The Integrated Mental Health Atlas of Western Sydney Launch, May

In May, Professor Luis Salvador-Carulla helped to launch the Integrated Mental Health Atlas of Western Sydney (funded by Western Sydney Partners in Recovery). The project aims at a comprehensive mapping of mental health services, programmes and supports available in regional, rural & remote areas through Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments, private and not-for-profit sectors. This research takes steps towards understanding how inequalities cluster in geographic areas, and how these relate to poorer mental health. READ MORE.

Development for All 2015 – 2020 Launch, 25 May

Development for All Launch

From left to right: Sophie Plumridge, Jhalak Sharma Sapkota, Hon Julie Bishop, MP, Ewen McDonald, Deputy Secretary, DFAT

Hon Julie Bishop, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs launched Development for All 2015 – 2020: Strategy for Strengthening Disability-inclusive Development in Australia’s Aid Program at Parliament House on Monday 25 May.

Stakeholders, parliamentarians, and members of the Australia Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC), who were instrumental in supporting the development of this strategy, attended the launch.

Ewen McDonald, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) hosted the event. The Hon Julie Bishop launched the strategy, Jhalak Sharma Sapkota, an Australia Award Scholarship Recipient, spoke about his experiences in Nepal and studying in Australia and Sophie Plumridge, Executive Office of ADDC, spoke, representing the disability and development sector.

The launch of this new Strategy represents a key milestone towards implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified in 2008 by Australia.

Development for All 2015 – 2020 provides guidance for strategic decision making by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by articulating four key areas for strengthening disability-inclusive development:

  • supporting governance for equality;
  • enabling infrastructure;
  • ensuring inclusive education and skills development; and
  • building resilience through inclusive humanitarian assistance, disaster risk reduction, and social protection.

The strategy draws on existing strengths and expertise in Australia to contribute to enhance the participation and empowerment of people with disabilities as contributors, leaders, and decision makers in community, government, and the private sector across the Indo-Pacific region.
Dr. Michelle Villeneuve, Co-Lead of the Disability and Development Stream at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy (CDRP), University of Sydney, attended the launch. Dr. Villeneuve said,

The Hon Julie Bishop recognizes the important roles of researchers, implementing partners, and advocacy organisations as key to promoting disability rights in the region. This strategy provides opportunity for CDRP, with research expertise in building resilience through disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction programs, inclusive education and employment, and sustainable governance at home and across the Indo-Pacific region to continue to be the driving force in the process of change in the region.

The CDRP aims to change the disadvantage that occurs for people with disability through addressing their social and economic participation in society, and their health and wellbeing.

Australian Human Rights Commission, Disability Researchers Workshop, 11 March


On 11 March, Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn presented to the Australian Human Rights Commission in a Disability Researchers Workshop. The event was entitled, ‘Critical Issues in Disability Policy Research: Towards a Policy-relevant National Disability Research Agenda’ and was co-sponsored by the University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis. The workshop also served as an important opportunity for the Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, The Hon Susan Ryan AO, to get a snapshot of the Disability Research Sector.

The first part of the day comprised discussion with a range of disability organisations, service providers, government departments, and individuals concerning the gaps in disability policy research in Australia. The second session brought in academics and researchers in the area to consider these gaps. The workshop was facilitated by Mr Paul Porteous who drew together the different threads of conversation and comment.


Professor Llewellyn’s presentation emphasised the need for evidence based research and the ability to inform policy by balancing understanding and tested solutions. See the slides here.

One important point that arose in workshop discussion was the idea of framing disability through the language and terminology of human rights. A recurring theme was the issue of including people with disabilities in research design, implementation, and dissemination: “do nothing about us without us”. A major problem identified was the matter of ‘who is leading the conversation’ around disability policy research. Shifting government funding priorities, university demands on researchers, and developing the capacity for research by engaging and fostering young researchers in the sector all featured prominently in the workshop debate. Another issue that also came up throughout the day was the need for research collaboration (both among academics and with community organisations and stakeholders). It was put that research is often carried out in an opportunistic way when funds are available to particular researchers or organisation, rather than tailored to research need and a coherent national research strategy. This is despite the publication of the National Disability Research and Development Agenda (2010).


There was agreement that the focus of research on disability should not simply be around the NDIS important though this is but across the broad spectrum of experiences, obstacles, and issues pertaining to disability policy in Australia. Disability is a whole of government issue rather than only about social welfare and medical interventions. Rather than be seen as an impediment and societal problem, disability should be seen as part of human diversity.

At the end of the workshop, participants agreed to plan a further event – a Research into Policy Roundtable – to further the discussion on 1 October at the University of New South Wales –following the Australian Social Policy Conference. The priority should be focused on impact: allowing people with disabilities to participate fully and meaningfully in community and society. Although the AHRC does not have a mandate to provide substantial funding to the research sector, the body can provide a powerful voice for advocating change through the discourse of human rights.

Developmental Disability Graduation, 9 April, 2015

DD Graduation

Course Director, Professor Roger Stancliffe with some of the graduates, standing in front of the sandstone of the University’s famous Quadrangle.

Twelve Masters / Graduate Certificate of Health Science (Developmental Disability) students graduated on 9 April. In addition, there were other DD students who were unable to be present in person, and who graduated in absentia. Students present travelled from as far afield as Hobart to receive their testamur. Warmest congratulations to all the graduates on their fine achievements.

As always, the graduation was held in the University of Sydney's magnificent Great Hall.

The ceremony was presided over by Faculty of Health Sciences Dean, Professor Kathryn Refshauge and Pro-Chancellor Mr Peter Fitzsimons AM who is a Fellow of the University of Sydney Senate.

News highlights 2014

  • July 2014: DISCUSSION PAPER:
    CROSS SECTOR SERVICE COORDINATION for people with high and complex needs: Harnessing existing evidence and knowledge
    Download PDF
  • July 2014: Professor Richard Madden speaks on ABC NewsRadio about The National Disability Insurance Scheme which turned one on 1 July. To listen, click here and search for the text 'The National Disability Insurance Scheme turns one today'.
  • June 2014: The Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, is pleased to announce the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently designated the Faculty as a WHO Collaborating Centre in Health Workforce Development in Rehabilitation and Long Term Care, for a period of four years until 11 June 2018, with Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn acting as the Head of the Centre. More information will be available here soon.
  • June 2014: Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn and Professor Eric Emerson have wrote an opinion piece for 'Ramp Up' about the government's decision not to renew the position of Disability Discrimination Commissioner. This action abandons decades of effort in making visible the discrimination and disadvantage experienced by many ordinary Australians. To read the article, click here
  • February 2014: Professor Stewart Einfeld launched the Stepping Stones Triple P (SSTP) Project at the Helping Families Change Conference in Sydney on 21 February. To find out more information click here.

News highlights 2013

  • November 2013: Transition to retirement: a guide to inclusive practice. A new manual co-authored by University of Sydney academics is available to help Australia's growing population of older people with disabilities successfully move into retirement. Click here to view the table of contents and first few chapters. For more information about the launch of the manual and purchase information click here.
  • July 2013: Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Director, CDRP recently attended the 6th Conference of States Parties on the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations in New York. To read more click here
  • June 2013: Presentations from Transition to Retirement Seminar June 14 are now available: View here
  • June 2013: Publication of CDRP Policy Bulletin No 2, 2013: TRANSITION TO RETIREMENT
    further information

Recent publications by the Centre for Disability and Policy Research:

News highlights 2012

News highlights 2011

Our People in the News

What's best for the child. difficult conversation about how an intellectual disability may affect a parent's capacity to raise a child. With participation of Gwynnyth Llewellyn
Watch, SBS Insight 23 Apr 13

February 2013: Professor Roger Stancliffe: Improving Outcomes. Watch video

Opinion: It costs a lot to care for disabled children, Newcastle Herald, 11 Jan 13

Disabled workers challenge naive employers, SMH, 21 Nov 12

Child removals from intellectually disabled parents 'inhumane', ABC News, 24 Oct 12

NDIS requires focus, not political point scoring, the Drum, 31 July

Disability effects everyone in the world, Ramp Up, 7 Dec 11

Disabled have ordinary needs, Canberra Times, 5 Dec 11

Celebrating unique abilities, Daily Liberal, 14 Oct

Insurance scheme needs more information, Canberra Times, 15 Aug