The DOMINO Dataset

Project Details

A recent initiative by Department of Social Services (DSS) and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is the creation of a high quality longitudinal event-based dataset on social security payments in Australia, called Data On Multiple INdividual Occurrences (DOMINO).

In this project, we will be among the first researchers in Australia to use this high-quality dataset.

The history of restricted data access has hindered research on causal factors for transitioning on and off these supports and testing their effect on health and wellbeing of Australians. This type of research is critical for guiding and refining welfare policy. The ability to understand the effect of social policy on health is particularly timely with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout and important to assess for people with disabilities, who are more likely to have lower levels of education, face higher unemployment, social exclusion, homelessness and levels of poverty and to be in receipt of social security. These are all factors that negatively impact the physical and mental health of people with disabilities.

DOMINO provides a unique opportunity to conduct high quality, high impact research on the life-course effect of income supports on Australians with disabilities. It contains event-based data on individual interactions with social security payments and DSS managed programs over time, whereas other well known commonly used datasets such as Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) and Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP) that contain data on income support services are either collected in yearly ‘waves’ or aggregated annually, which disrupts the ability to accurately test causal relationships between welfare and health outcomes.

Our key research aims with the DOMINO dataset are:

  • To identify inequalities in health for people with disabilities (and their carers) and how this varies by age, gender, education and area-based factors – detailed event-based data will allow new methods to be applied and more accurate and policy relevant causal associations to be derived.
  • Use changes to income support policies (i.e. disability support pension) as natural experiments to investigate the impact of these reforms on health and economic circumstances of people with disability.


Dr Sean Byars, Disability and Health, University of Melbourne
Professor Anne Kavanagh, Disability and Health, University of Melbourne
Dr George Disney, Disability and Health, University of Melbourne
Ms Zoe Aitken, Disability and Health, University of Melbourne
Professor Bruce Bonyhady, Melbourne Disability Institute
Professor Peter Butterworth, Department of Social Services and Australian National University
Ms Ximena Camacho, Population Health Data, University of Melbourne


BIP University of Melbourne 2019

Research Group

School Research Themes

Data science, health metrics and disease modeling

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

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