Research explores vulnerability of people with disability with climate change looming

Published:03 July 2014

Research explores vulnerability of people with a disability

CQUniversity researchers will explore the vulnerability of people with disability, as climate change increases the likelihood of natural disaster events.

Funding of $39,969 from the Queensland Centre for Social Science Innovation will enable a project titled Designing a vulnerability index for Queenslanders with a disability with respect to climate change in regional centres.

Research team member Dr Susan Kinnear says this scoping study aims to design a social and health vulnerability index for people with a disability.

"This is in relation to the impacts from climate change, specifically natural disaster events – eg floods.

"At least 150,000 Queenslanders have a severe disability and require daily and consistent help or assistance with self-care, mobility or communication needs.

"Particular emphasis will be placed on the experiences of people with a disability during and after natural disaster events (such as floods, cyclones and severe storms), and the policy and programming initiatives that may be required to better support this disadvantaged cohort.

"Our study is focused on Rockhampton and Bundaberg regions."

Dr Kinnear says there are two data collection activities. An online survey at enables feedback from community or support organisations who work with people with disability, and which operate across the Rockhampton or Bundaberg regions.

One-on-one interviews with people with disability are also anticipated to occur in coming weeks. Individuals who may be interested in participating can contact Davina Taylor (, to receive further information about what these interviews will involve (please note - eligibility criteria will apply). 

Along with Dr Kinnear, the research team includes Julie Mann, Dr Wendy Hillman, Davina Taylor, and Associate Professor Monica Moran.