We have experience across a broad range of statistical applications, and we offer help with all aspects of data-based research. Our consultants have Masters or PhD degrees in statistics, and are all are accredited with the Statistical Society of Australia (AStat or GStat).
Class action over transvaginal mesh implants
On 21 November 2019, the Federal Court handed down a judgment in a long-running and large class action over the use of transvaginal mesh implants. Shine Lawyers acted on behalf of 1,350 women against Johnson & Johnson, and Ethicon. Federal Court judge, Anna Katzmann, deliberated for over a year and considered a huge amount of evidence amounting to more than 5,500 documents, including statistical analyses and epidemiological research. Professor Ian Gordon was engaged by Shine Lawyers, and acted as an expert witness, appeared in court and was cross-examined. His written and oral evidence was cited extensively in the judge’s 1500-page judgement. Staff from the Statistical Consulting Centre carried out meta-analyses of evidence from 438 studies of stress urinary incontinence and 130 studies of pelvic organ prolapse. The judge ruled in favour of the women and against the companies who sold the mesh products.
Forecasting for Victoria Legal Aid
Victoria Legal Aid, VLA, is a government organisation that helps people with legal problems, particularly those who may have the greatest need. They commissioned the Statistical Consulting Centre to carry out a data analytics project to learn more about how VLA, community legal centres, and private lawyers provide legal aid. There were eight different categories of legal services of interest. This was a large and complex project involving the use and integration of different sources of data. Forecasting the level of demand for legal services based on the expected growth in the Victorian population was an innovation in the field of legal services.
Experimenting with x-ray technology for the Department of Agriculture
Identifying incoming biosecurity risks by screening passenger luggage is a priority for the Department of Agriculture. New 3D x-ray technology has the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of screening. Staff from the Statistical Consulting Centre have worked closely with Department of Agriculture staff on the design of trails to compare performance under current and new technologies. The results will inform further field trials and additional experiments of related technologies.
Looking after children - Health and Human Services
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services’ Looking After Children (LAC) Implementation Monitoring Project required all community service organisations that provide out of home care and kinship support services in Victoria to collate LAC implementation data that monitors three key implementation issues. The Statistical Consulting Centre supported data management, curation and reporting of the LAC for over fifteen years.
Valuation of public collections
Agencies holding valuable public collections, such as museums, are required by law to have their collections given a valuation at regular intervals, or to estimate their size. It is usually impossible to examine every item in the collection (there may be millions), and so a statistically-based sample of items is necessary. The Statistical Consulting Centre has devised sampling schemes for such agencies, which have enabled sound valuations or counts to be made, along with estimates of uncertainty. The agencies have included Arts Centre Melbourne, The Australian Museum, and Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
Effectiveness of seaweed fertiliser
A series of field trials were conducted over several years, some at a commercial scale and others at small-plot level, to evaluate the effectiveness of the organic liquid seaweed fertiliser “Seasol” in promoting growth in a range of crops, including grapevines, sugar cane, and avocado. The Statistical Consulting Centre analysed the results from individual trials, and from combinations of trials using meta-analysis. The analysis provided evidence supporting the effectiveness of Seasol, and gave a foundation for future research.
Effect of flooding on bird life
Surveys of birds were conducted on 84 sites in and near Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Victoria – before, during, and immediately after floods, to assess the effect of environmental watering on bird numbers. Many different bird species were counted, including those that were detrimental to other birds. The Statistical Consulting Centre analysed the results from the study, which were then reported to the Mallee Catchment Management Authority. The analysis required the fitting of “generalised linear mixed models” to account for the complexity of the data.
Ridley Corporation is a commercial provider of animal nutrition solutions, with 20 sites across Australia and a continuing program of scientific experimentation. The Statistical Consulting Centre has worked with Ridley for over 10 years in designing and analysing nutrition trials, especially those involving beef cattle and sheep.
Compositional waste audit by Sustainability Victoria
Sustainability Victoria conducted an audit of the commercial and industrial sector in Victoria to estimate the composition of waste (plastic, glass, food, etc.) generated by various business types, to help reduce landfill and improve recovery of non-waste materials. The Statistical Consulting Centre devised a sampling scheme to enable this estimation to be as precise as possible, which involved stratification by region and a statistically random selection of locations within local government areas. The expected margin of error was calculated to assess the likely precision of the waste estimates. The Centre has now been associated with Sustainability Victoria for over 10 years.
Reliability of electricity – Australian Energy Regulator
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) conducted a review of the “Value of Customer Reliability” for the national electricity market – this is an estimate of what customers are willing to pay to secure more reliable electricity. The Statistical Consulting Centre collaborated with the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne in providing expert services for the AER. This involved reviewing methodology, providing advice on surveys and sampling, assessing reports, contributing to stakeholder meetings, and supervising a major study on “revealed preferences” which presented options for the AER to consider.
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