The Disability Inclusive City

Investigating the impacts of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on Australia’s cities and urban regions.

Understanding the impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme on participation in mainstream urban services.

This three-year study is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. It will investigate the impacts of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on Australia’s cities and urban regions. The $22 billion per-annum NDIS, currently being progressively rolled out nationally, is the largest Australian social policy reform since Medicare.  By 2020, it will directly impact the lives approximately 460,000 people with disability, as well as their primary carers and paid support workers.

Improving the performance of mainstream services in delivering outcomes for people with disability is a primary object of the NDIS. The vast majority of NDIS individualised funding packages will include funding for training, personal assistance and assistive technology to assist people with disability in accessing mainstream services. In addition, the NDIS will fund non-individualised capacity building programs working directly with mainstream service providers to remove barriers to participation of people with disability. A better understanding of how these interventions will play out in different urban areas is crucial for development of both urban and disability policies.

How will mainstream housing, health, and community services in Australian cities adjust to enhance participation of people with disability supported by the NDIS?

Aims and Activities

The study aims to assess the impact of the NDIS on urban policy and delivery of mainstream urban services; to better understand the agency of people with disability as participants in mainstream services; and, to reveal the urban context factors influencing participation of people with disability in mainstream urban services.
The empirical investigation in this project will concentrate on three urban service domains that are critical to the success of the NDIS: housing, health and community services. Data collection will involve over 140 in-depth interviews with policy makers, people with disability, urban service managers and service users without a disability. The majority of interviews will take place in four NDIS administrative areas that were selected as research sites: North Eastern Melbourne; Western Sydney; Geelong; and, Newcastle.


Read our latest paper: How will the NDIS change Australian cities?
Australian cities are likely to change as they adapt to the significant social, economic and political transformations facilitated by the NDIS.

This Issues Paper sets out a research agenda for examining the impacts of the NDIS on Australian cities over the first decade of its full implementation.

Project chief investigators

Dr Ilan Wiesel
School of Geography,
University of Melbourne

Prof Christine Bigby
Living with Disability Research Centre
La Trobe University

Prof Brendan Gleeson
Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute

Prof Carolyn Whitzman
Melbourne School of Design