Research reports

Our researchers relish the opportunity to contribute to positive social change by partnering with organisations to undertake research that informs policy, advocacy and practice.

The following reports give a good insight into the engaged research that the Department of Sociology undertakes with partners.

Meeting the social and emotional support needs of older people using aged care services

What do older people value in aged care services? Does the Australian aged care system have the capacity to meet older people’s needs? How do aged care workers assess their capacity to provide high-quality care? This report seeks to answer these questions in the context of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Co-authored by Professor Gabrielle Meagher with colleagues from UNSW and RMIT University, the report was commissioned by United Voice and the Health Services Union. Released October 2019.


Cultural exchange or cheap housekeeper? Findings of a national survey of au pairs in Australia

This report presents the first comprehensive study of living and working conditions of au pairs in Australia. Co-authored by Dr Laurie Berg (UTS) and Professor Gabrielle Meagher, the report draws on responses from almost 1,500 au pairs across 34 nationalities to an online survey in 2017. Released November 2018.


Keep NSW in a healthy state: Investing for a healthy future

Over the past fifty years healthcare has become increasingly important to global economies, including in NSW, where it is now one of the state’s biggest industries as measured by spending and employment, and set to grow further. This report, commissioned by the McKell Institute and prepared by Associate Professor Ben Spies-Butcher and Honorary Fellow Dr Bob Davidson, reviews the key drivers of the increased need and demand for healthcare expenditure in NSW. Released May 2018.


Reasonable, necessary, and valued: Pricing disability services for quality support and decent jobs

Commissioned by three unions representing workers in disability services, this research report, co-authored by Honorary Fellow Dr Bob Davidson, is concerned with prospects for quality services and decent jobs under Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Released July 2017.


Ageing well at home: Measuring the impact of community care for older people

In the increasingly competitive environment of aged care in Australasia, how can consumers, providers and funders be sure that the care support and services delivered is both efficient and makes a positive difference? This report documents research undertaken in 2015-16 to develop and test the Australian Community Care Outcome Measurement tool (ACCOM). The report was co-authored by Macquarie Sociology colleagues Dr Beatriz Cardona, Dr Adam Stebbing and Honorary Professor Michael Fine. Released May 2017.


Valuing care work and care workers: Workforce and equal pay issues in NZ aged residential care

This report was prepared by Professor Gabrielle Meagher for E tū (formerly the Service and Food Workers Union) of New Zealand, in relation to an equal remuneration case seeking wage justice for care workers in aged residential care. It presents the findings of research on the characteristics of the care workforce, and the nature and valuation of care work in this sector. The focus is on the non-professional workforce, called health care assistants (HCAs) or caregivers. Released September 2016.

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Last updated: 13 Jan 2020