A digitally inclusive Australia
Associate Professor Peter Bragge, recently travelled to Sydney for the official launch of the Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance (ADIA), where BWA’s research into digital inclusion was presented.
Most of us now live in a complex, digitally-connected community and economy where we use the internet to socialise, shop, work and do everyday tasks. But not all of us are connected. In fact, some figures suggest that one in seven, or around three million Australians, are not internet users. And according to ADIA, those of us who never or rarely use the internet are at risk of being left behind.
While that may be by choice for many, others are being held back by their lack of access, skill or knowledge. This is the ‘digital exclusion’ gap that ADIA is seeking to close by making Australia a digitally inclusive society.
To get a better idea of where we, as a society, stand in this regard, BWA conducted formative research on this technological divide commissioned by Australia Post. The research involved a rapid literature review to understand the drivers and barriers to technology use and the effectiveness of interventions to improve people’s take up of digital technology. The research also included a national social survey to benchmark where we are in terms of digital inclusion in Australia, and identify behaviourally-informed typology groups (people who behave in similar ways). The outcomes of this research will assist in the development of engagement strategies to improve digital inclusion among vulnerable groups.
The key findings from this research were summarised in a Digital Participation white paper which was prepared by BWA in collaboration with Australia Post. A detailed Digital Inclusion report is also available, outlining the key issues and strategies in working towards a digitally inclusive Australia.
This launch brings together government, business, research and community organisations in an alliance to make Australia more connected and inclusive, with all the benefits greater economic and social participation can bring. ADIA is that alliance.
As the white paper says:
A digitally inclusive Australia aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals as it underpins social connectedness, self-improvement through education and knowledge, better health outcomes, access to cheaper more convenient goods and services, as well as the general economic benefits of productivity, larger markets for small business and more efficient Government services.
The Digital Participation and White Paper can be viewed at auspost.com.au/digitalinclusion