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.