Media Release - 26 May 2022

The Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance congratulates and welcomes the incoming Albanese Labor Government. We look forward to working collaboratively to close the digital divide in Australia.

There is a tremendous opportunity to better coordinate and lead the investments currently being made by numerous organisations across the sector. A whole of Government digital inclusion strategy; along with a digital economy Minister with clear authority to lead on digital inclusion would be welcome steps.

We recognise Labor’s commitment to supporting all Australians to access quality, high speed internet as an essential 21st century service. This affordable access, combined with accessibility measures and supporting Australians to be digitally capable of leaning into technology, will together combine to help narrow the gap between digital haves and have-nots.

We thank the outgoing Government for their ongoing engagement and attentive work in this area.

About the state of digital inclusion
The latest Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) survey was released in October 2021 and showed:

  • The number of Australians who are highly excluded remains substantial: 11% of the Australian population is highly excluded, registering an Index score of 45 or below.
  • People who fall into the lowest income quintile (57.7), people who rent from a public housing authority (57.2), people who did not complete secondary school (57.0), people over 75 years of age (53.5) and mobile-only users (43.4) are being left behind.
  • The divide between metropolitan and regional areas has narrowed but remains marked. Regional areas record an Index score in 2021 of 67.4. This is 3.6 points less than the national average (71.1), and 5.5 points less than metropolitan Australia (72.9).
  • Affordability remains central to closing the digital divide. Based on the Affordability measure, 14% of all Australians would need to pay more than 10% of their household income to gain quality, reliable connectivity. For Australians in the lowest income quintile, most (67%) would have to pay more than 10% of their household income to gain this same connection.
  • Digital Ability has slightly improved, with the national average increasing 0.8 points from 2020 to 64.4 in 2021. But the score for basic operational skills—such as downloading and opening files, connecting to the internet, and setting passwords—has fallen slightly: from 73.5 in 2020 to 73.1 in 2021. This is potentially related to a growth in new users due to the digital uplift of services during COVID-19.
  • People living in Australia’s 1,100 remote First Nations communities are among the most digitally excluded people in Australia. ADII data shows that the gap has been widening over recent years.