Launch of the 2023 Australian Digital Inclusion Index
The Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance welcomed the release of the latest Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) data today which highlights that digital inclusion at the national level continues to steadily improve.
In her opening address, Telstra CEO Vicki Brady noted that digital exclusion shouldn’t be an outcome of increased digitisation, and while the digital economy is bringing social, economic and cultural benefits, these benefits are not being shared. Gathering and analysing the data around digital inclusion in Australia is the necessary starting point in addressing these challenges and improving accessibility, affordability and digital ability for all Australians.
Over recent years, Australia’s average Index score has improved from 67.5 (2020), to 71.1 (2021), to 73.2 (2023).
9.4% of the Australian population is highly excluded, registering an Index score of 45 or below, down from 10.6% in 2021; and the number of excluded Australians (those with an Index score above 45 and below 61) also decreased from 16.6% in 2021 to 14.2% in 2023. Whilst it is pleasing to see improvements to the national average, we must acknowledge that almost one quarter of Australians remain digitally excluded.
Similarly, we acknowledge the significant digital inclusion gaps across Australia’s geography and society.
- Digital Ability has improved nationally, however, some groups are seeing declines in Digital Ability scores, including people in the lowest income quintile and Australians aged over 75.
- Affordability has improved at a national level, however, people with disability, people living in public housing, people over the age of 75, and people who are currently unemployed are more likely to be experiencing affordability stress, meaning they would need to pay more than 5% of household income to maintain quality reliable connectivity.
- The national Access score has increased from 70.0 in 2021 to 72.0 in 2023, however several groups remain well below the national average, including First Nations Peoples living in remote and very remote communities, people over 75 years of age, and those in the lowest income quintile.
- The number of mobile-only users has slightly increased, from 9.6% in 2021 to 10.5% in 2023. Some groups, including people in very remote areas (32.6%), First Nations people (21.3%), and those on the lowest incomes (20.7%) continue to be overrepresented in their reliance on mobile-only access. Additionally, we know that mobile-only use also limits improvements to digital ability.
When it comes to First Nations Digital Inclusion, there is still a significant gap between First Nations and non-First Nations people in Australia, and we acknowledge that the 2023 Index, through the partnership with the Mapping The Digital Gap project, takes a significant step forward in providing data specific to First Nations communities.
We thank Telstra for their commitment to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index and congratulate the ADII team on a successful launch (ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT University).
Telstra is a Founding Member of the Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance.