A National Digital Inclusion Roadmap

The ADIA has released a position paper – A National Digital Inclusion Roadmap – outlining what should be done to increase digital inclusion in Australia. The ADIA recommends:

  • A whole-of-government strategy should be developed – a National Digital Inclusion Roadmap – so businesses, nonprofits and government can work towards the same goal.
  • While the Roadmap is being developed, specific initiatives can be initiated:
    • Creating a Digital Capabilities Framework to provide a common understanding and goal for what it means to be a digitally capable individual.
    • Assessing which internet services affordability measures taken in the immediate response to COVID-19 can be retained going forward. This may include a permanent low cost option for those on low incomes.
    • Move towards all federal, state and local government websites being compliant with the latest accessibility standards.

You can access the documents by clicking on the links below:

For the last six months, we have adjusted our lives to an online world. Now we are realising that when Australia adjusts to COVID-normal, many of the programs and services forced to digitise will not revert to operating as they did before the pandemic. This will only highlight the digital inequity in Australia.

Even before the pandemic, Australians were being left behind because they did not have the affordable access or the skills necessary to participate in a digital world. Now, with coronavirus expediting the digitisation of our daily lives, addressing digital inclusion in Australia must be a priority.

Get Online Week, an annual international campaign to promote digital inclusion, was 19 October to 25 October 2020. Around the country, events were held to help Australians develop the skills they need to thrive in a digital world. The will to tackle digital exclusion in Australia is there – but we need a whole-of-government approach and a Digital Capabilities Framework to ensure the effort is coordinated and directed where it is needed most.

 

The ADIA lodged a submission in response to the Western Australia Government’s draft Blueprint for a Digitally-Inclusive State. The ADIA commends the WA Government on its work in drafting a whole-of-government strategy to address digital inclusion and the identification of the various initiatives in the consultation draft. In addition to the work proposed on digital skills, the ADIA suggests the WA Government leverage opportunities to promote the development and adoption of a National Digital Capabilities Framework, which would define at a national level the skills Australians need to thrive in modern society.

    • You can read the submission here.
    • You can view the annexure here.

This month the ADIA held a webinar about digital inclusion and the impact of COVID-19 on community organisations working to bridge the digital divide. The webinar brought together organisations within the City of Yarra in Melbourne to share challenges faced, strategies adopted and their learnings from the pandemic.

Chaired by David Spriggs, the webinar brought together:

  • Maree Foelz – Family Violence Partnerships Coordinator at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre
  • Elle Morrell – Community Development Coordinator & Manager of the Open Door community hub Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre
  • Rei Chin – Community Development Manager at Carringbush Adult Education
  • Conor Sibly – Community Development Worker involved in the North Richmond Capacity Building Initiative through the Belgium Avenue Neighbourhood House
  • Natasha Savic – Coordinator of Resources and Technology at Yarra Libraries
  • Jess Perrin – Head of Social Innovation & Digital Inclusion at Infoxchange

If you couldn’t make the event or you would like to share the discussion with colleagues, a recording is available here.

The ADIA has written to the Prime Minister calling on the Government to commit to a National Digital Inclusion Roadmap. We have proposed that initiatives covered by the Roadmap include:

  • Access and affordability of internet services – removing cost as a prohibitive barrier;
  • Digital Ability – ensuring that everyone has the skills and confidence to benefit from and complete activities on the Internet; and
  • Accessibility – allowing everyone to use the internet including those living with disability, from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, or with other needs.

You can read the full letter here.

It has been another exciting year for the ADIA with progress being made across several key areas of digital inclusion in Australia.

Notably, the 2019 Digital Inclusion Index was released in September which showed that:

  • Since 2014, Australia’s overall digital inclusion score has risen by 7.9 points, from 54.0 to 61.9 and improvements have been evident across all three dimensions of digital inclusion – Access, Affordability and Digital Ability.
  • Scores for every state and territory increased. South Australia recorded the largest improvement (2.7 points).
  • The digital inclusion gap between Australians with disability and other Australians is substantial but narrowing.
  • Indigenous digital inclusion is low, but improving.
  • Rural Australia leads the way in NBN take-up and Access improvements.
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) migrants have a relatively high level of digital inclusion.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done. The Index also shows that:

  • Although value for money has improved, affordability remains a key challenge.
  • While the cost of internet data has gone down, households are now spending more money on internet services to account for more usage.
  • People aged 65+ are Australia’s least digitally included age group.

One area the Index identifies for more support is ‘Digital Ability’, or essential digital capabilities. Worryingly, under half of all Australians think computers and technology give them more control over their lives and less than 40% feel they can keep up with a changing technological landscape.

In 2019, we worked towards this goal by meeting with members of the new Government to share the views of our members and the communities they represent. The Collective Voice team developed a Call to Action that was sent to members of both the Government and the Opposition. This Call to Action:

  • highlighted the current state of play for digital inclusion
  • identified priority segments of the community that are currently underserved, and
  • called for specific interventions to address the issues identified.

We also made submissions to two major reviews (the ACCC Digital Platforms Review and the Department of Home Affairs’ 2020 Cyber Security Strategy Review) and are encouraged by the Government’s response to the Digital Platforms Review which proposes action on digital literacy.

Our members met with Professor Julian Thomas, the lead researcher on the Australian Digital Inclusion Index, in a meet-up where Professor Thomas provided great insights into the future work of the Index and on what areas that Index would focus next year.

There will be more opportunities to engage with researchers like Professor Thomas in the New Year, so make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter for details.

As we move into 2020, the ADIA will continue its work to ensure Australia adopts a nationally accepted digital capabilities framework.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to and supported the work of the ADIA in 2019 . The work of the ADIA would not be possible without your support, and we look forward to reducing the digital divide further in 2020.

 

Dear ADIA community,

We recently completed a review of the backbone functions and priorities for the year ahead based on feedback from ADIA participants and our sponsors. The review has taken into account the excellent work done by the collective voice team in defining a ‘call to action’, the desire to progress a national digital skills capability framework as well as the opportunities presented by the new Parliament.

In response we have identified the need for the ADIA to have a more active role in public policy engagement and I am very pleased to announce that with the support of our sponsors we have been able to add this capability to the backbone.

As of 1 July the ADIA backbone will be led by Ishtar Vij, Carolyn Hough and Ben Rice from Eloquium Group. Ishtar, Carolyn and Ben bring a wealth of experience in strategy, public policy, government affairs, stakeholder engagement and communications having held senior roles across a diverse range of government, corporate and not-for-profit organisations.

One of the first priorities of the backbone will be to support the collective voice team in progressing the ‘call to action’ and engaging with the incoming government.

The backbone will also continue to support the broader work of the ADIA including scheduling regular meetups, coordinating activities and continuing our regular newsletters.

We’ll also be looking to confirm members of the ADIA Governance & Strategy Committee for the year ahead in July, with the next meeting proposed to be held in August 2019. I’ll be reaching out to previous members and if you’re interested in being involved in the committee in the year ahead please let me know.

I would like to thank John Huigen who has led the development of the ADIA as our Alliance Facilitator. John’s passion and energy have built significant momentum for the ADIA with an impressive list of achievements. John will be stepping down from his day to day role in the backbone but will continue to be involved as a facilitator when called upon and as an active participant.

Finally, I would like to thank our sponsors Australia Post, Google, Telstra and Infoxchange who have supported the ADIA both financially and on an in-kind basis from the beginning.Without their support the ADIA would not be possible.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you as always for your support of the ADIA.

– David

 

From Andrew Whelan, Project Leader, on behalf of the ADIA Collective Voice Team

Hello ADIA-ers,

Over the past 12 months the ADIA Collective Voice team, which has broad industry and sector representation, has developed a Call to Action that:

  • highlights the current state of play for digital inclusion
  • identifies priority segments of the community that are currently underserved, and
  • calls for specific interventions to address the issues identified.

While 2.5 million Australians remain offline and a further 5 million are lacking basic digital skills, the time to act is now.

We have sought and received much great feedback along the way, in line with Collective Voice Guiding Principles for Communication and would like to thank everyone for their hard work and input.

The main issues of the Federal Election are somewhat set. Despite being an important issue, digital inclusion is unlikely to be a major election focus for any of the parties. Given timings and the advice we have taken, the Collective Voice team has decided that the most effective way to make our voice heard is to have a letter ready to pass through to the relevant Ministers, shadows and other targeted people AFTER the new government is sworn in.

In the meantime we will continue to reinforce the efforts of others who are calling for similar things. For example, ACCAN recently ran a well-executed campaign for broadband affordability in line with what the ADIA is calling for, so we were able to endorse their submission, adding weight to their call on affordability.

We have now finalised the consultation/input phase and are calling for individuals and organisations to endorse the letter that contains our arguments and call to action. As indicated, the letter is planned to be sent (and followed up) after the election to a range of key politicians.

Endorsement means supporting:

  • the letter
  • the overarching call for a national strategy to address digital exclusion that should particularly address:
    • affordability, digital ability and inclusive access
    • with particular consideration of five priority segments/populations
  • the specific calls to action, being:
    • a national awareness campaign for the need for digital inclusion
    • the development of a framework to set and measure digital inclusion targets, and
    • a consultation process with lead organisations from each of the priority segments

The letter refers to an attachment that has some further details and proposals that could be included in a national strategy, but these are provided as suggestions at this stage. Endorsement is endorsement of the letter only, not every suggested proposal in the attachment.

The more logos and names we can gather, the stronger the call will be.

Please let our Alliance Facilitator John Huigen know by May 13th if you/your organisation will formally endorse the Call to Action.

Again, I would like to thank my hard-working colleagues in the Collective Voice team for their insights and contributions and everyone across the ADIA network who have provided input.

Regards,
Andy

Andrew Whelan

 

DOWNLOAD THE CALL TO ACTION LETTER

Author: ADIA | Size: 230kb | PDF | Published: April 2019

DOWNLOAD THE ADIA STRATEGY DOCUMENT

Author: ADIA | Size: 2MB | PPTX file (Powerpoint) | Published: April 2019

by Natalie Collins, ADIA Inclusive Access Project Leader, Centre for Inclusive Design

Since its creation, the ADIA has made some substantial achievements. The Centre for Inclusive Design has been a keen supporter of the ADIA and has project-led a number of its projects.

The ADIA aims to harness the collective skills, knowledge and capabilities of organisations across Australia to reduce the digital divide through affordability, ability and inclusive access (formally described as “digital accessibility”) to digital technologies.

Thousands of people are currently being left behind because of the inaccessibility of some digital technologies. So in October last year we convened a meeting with representatives from Infoxchange, Intopia, Diversity Council Australia and Capgemini to develop a plan for how we can work together to make big improvements to inclusive access.

What do we mean by “inclusive access”?

Inclusive access focuses on the ability of people to access the technology and meaningfully engage and interact with the content.

It includes:

  • devices (e.g. a screen reader) hardware and software
  • inclusive design
  • structural barriers (discrimination, lack of intentionality)
  • diversity and inclusion policies (CSR statement and policies corporate strategies) and intersectionality (awareness of cultural barriers)

It doesn’t include:

  • the ability of the user (or prior technical knowledge)
  • affordability
  • connectivity (waves, wires, data and infrastructure)

As part of our Inclusive Access Project we’ve developed two key activities for the next year:

Activity 1: Develop a plain language pack for creating and maintaining digital assets

Activity 2: Collect and publish inclusive access experiences – good and bad stories from people’s interactions with digital assets.

Can you help?

We’re testing our plan in the accessibility sector and welcome support or involvement from ADIA partners. If you would like to be involved please contact Project Leader Natalie Collins.

What a year (and a bit) it’s been in the young life of the ADIA!

We’ve gotten off to a great start and made some terrific achievements thanks to the commitment of ADIA participants to working together to ensure everyone can thrive in the digital world.

As a digital inclusion action accelerator and facilitator, the ADIA has been busy establishing our operating approach, our communications, and guiding principles for collaboration. We’re thrilled to now have 542 participants from over 400 organisations in our network working together to reduce the digital divide.

We’ve hosted a number of big events as well as local meetups across every Australian state to enable local networking and discussion.

We’ve established and trialled a Project Team process to empower ADIA participants to collaborate on digital inclusion projects. Since our launch in 2017, this process has supported 16 different ADIA Project Leaders over 12 different long-running projects across the country to pursue our shared goals.

Project collaboration has resulted in many great achievements, including two funded research projects, co-developed submissions to government, free-to-use digital inclusion resources, the first ever International Digital Inclusion Week with a fantastic international panel.

We are poised to begin campaigning federally – in time for the next election – for a national digital inclusion strategy and more strategic resourcing to ensure everyone can make full use of digital technologies.

We very much appreciate the support, friendly engagement and commitment of the digital inclusion enthusiasts we engage with and who do the real work of the ADIA.

Thank you to our supporters and sponsors Infoxchange, Australia Post, Google and Telstra for enabling us to come together.

Happy Christmas and Holiday Season. Next year will be great!

– The ADIA Backbone Team,
John Huigen (Facilitator) and Charlotte McCombe (Coordinator)

Facts about the ADIA's first year

We need your input!

The Collective Voice Team are making great progress on the development of our ADIA strategy, along with our ‘call’ to engage with federal politicians and stakeholders, ahead of the upcoming election. We need to secure firm commitments to help close the gap!

We are proposing that the ADIA call for a national digital inclusion strategy that addresses affordability, digital ability and inclusive access. Why? Because currently millions of people in Australia are being left behind and it’s a social and economic cost that we can’t afford. RMIT researchers who have worked on the Australian Digital Inclusion Index have been a great help defining where we are today and developing some hard targets for where we need to get to. It’s been a great team effort!

The next step is to get wider input into building out the strategy with key recommendations and programs. We have drafted how a national digital inclusion strategy should be framed, what it should achieve and have recommended specific interventions, programs or policies to achieve the improvements that need to happen.

Please have a look at the summary and get back to us ASAP with your suggestions to improve the draft.

You will hear back from us seeking endorsement of the final draft once we integrate the feedback.

It’s been great working with such a great team of passionate people and I want to recognise and thank them all.

Happy Christmas!

Andy Whelan
Collective Voice Project Leader

DOWNLOAD THE DRAFT

Size: 324kb | Author: ADIA | Published: 2018 | Status: DRAFT