Who are you and how do you promote digital inclusion in Australia?
The City of Greater Geelong, or ‘The City’ as we call it, is the local government for the Greater Geelong Region, representing approximately 225,000 people.
The Community Inclusion Unit within ‘The City’ has been supporting digital inclusion since 2015 and continues to work on strategies to bridge the digital divide around access, affordability and ability in the broader Geelong community.
Tell us about some of your achievements in the last three years
We’ve been involved in a number of digitally focused community events and larger conferences; from hosting teacher and volunteer ‘Code Club’, an ADIA meetup and community based learning pop-ups, to supporting the launch of the National Year of Digital Inclusion and Digital Innovation Festival.
We’ve led initiatives such as installing free WIFI in disadvantaged areas, providing free digital audits for neighbourhood houses and other community organisations, and linking schools and organisations such as Lions clubs with free refurbished computers.
More recently we supported a ‘Digital Expo’ at one of our Neighbourhood Houses and received a $1.8m grant for Geelong from State Government to expand the City’s free WIFI network to improve digital connectivity and address disparities of access and affordability of internet access to the northern suburbs of Geelong.
Wow, amazing work! Any lessons to share?
We need to keep talking about digital inclusion. It requires a whole of community effort, understanding, planning, engagement and moreover policy infrastructure and financial commitment.
How could your organisation benefit from our network of academic, business government and community organisations?
ADIA provides an opportunity for everyone to share information and come together to talk about where to go next and what we can do as an Alliance. Great to see what people are doing, so keep sharing your information. Visit our website and join our ‘community accessing technology’ Facebook page to stay up to date with our community’s efforts to close the digital divide.
Learn more: www.geelongaustralia.com.au