ICS Seminar Series - Karen Soldatic

Date: Thursday 8 June 2017
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: EB.G.35, Western Sydney University, Parramatta South campus

Karen Soldatic

(Institute for Culture and Society)

The Lived Experience of Disability Welfare Reform for Indigenous Australians: An Exploratory Study


Regional centres across Australia have growing populations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities at a time of significant policy change in national disability income support with the neoliberal restructuring of welfare regimes. Commonly referred to as welfare-to-work measures, there has been ample research globally on their implications for non-disabled income benefit recipients, though research on their impact on people with disabilities is minimal, and almost non-existent in terms of the effects on Indigenous people living with disabilities. Income support measures have been critically important for regional towns experiencing ongoing economic change. Yet, we do not know how regional communities respond to these policy changes, nor do we understand how national disability income support policy impacts upon the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities living in regional Australia. This paper explores some of the issues emerging from in-depth qualitative interviews with Indigenous communities in the Illawara and South Coast regions of NSW over the past 4 months.


Karen Soldatic is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2016-2019) who prior to joining the Institute, worked at UNSW. Karen's DECRA, entitled 'Disability Income Reform and Regional Australia: The Indigenous Experience', draws upon two previous fellowships: British Academy International Visiting Fellowship (2012) and The Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University (2011-2012) where she remains an Adjunct Fellow.

Recent publications include three international edited volumes with colleagues Grech and Johnson: Disability and Rurality: Identity, Gender and Belonging (released in May with Johnson); Disability in the Global South (with Grech in 2016) and Disability and Colonialism (with Grech 2016), alongside a range of journal articles in 2016 including Third World Thematics, Peace, Conflict and Survivial, Somatechnics, Australian Journal of Human Rights and Australian Journal of Social Issues.