Indigenous disability researcher and advocate joins Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University is pleased to welcome Indigenous disability researcher and advocate Dr Scott Avery who joins the School of Social Sciences as a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Community Welfare.

Dr Avery has undertaken extensive community-based research into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability, culminating in the publication of a research monograph in 2018 titled Culture is Inclusion: A narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. He is an appointed member of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey and Survey of Disability Ageing and Carers and the Indigenous (Data and Statistics) Roundtable, and completed a PhD on the health and social inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

As a proud Worimi man who is profoundly deaf himself, Dr Avery has recently given evidence at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability calling for reform to the multi-faceted structural failings that have created health inequalities and neglect in the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability.

“The essence of the problem is that people in positions of authority within the system have refused to accept that health inequalities for peoples with a disability even exist. This seems to be more so if the person with a disability is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander,” said Dr Avery.

“Within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy framework, there have been active steps to dis-acknowledge the evidence of grave health inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and a need for action is hidden behind this cloak of deniability.”

Professor Michelle Trudgett, Pro Vice-Chancellor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, Strategy and Consultation, said Dr Avery’s extensive academic and professional experience would enrich the University.

“Western Sydney University is committed to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s participation in higher education through our initiatives, programs and world-class research. Dr Avery is a leading scholar working in Indigenous disability – an important and under-researched area requiring urgent action to address the social and health inequalities facing the nation’s first people,” said Professor Trudgett.

Before his academic career, Dr Avery was a community-based researcher with the First Peoples Disability Network, a non-government organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disability and their families. He will maintain a close affiliation with the First Peoples Disability Network, the disability community, and other Aboriginal community organisations in his role at Western Sydney University.

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.