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Digital inclusion: regional SA lags behind Adelaide & national regions

MEDIA RELEASE: SACOSS today released summary data on digital inclusion by regional area for South Australia, based on the recently-released 2021 Australian Digital Inclusion Index.

The data shows that South Australia lags behind the national average for digital inclusion by 2.1 points, and regional South Australia is less included than Adelaide, with almost all regional local government areas scoring below the state average. Regional SA is also less digitally included than non-metro areas nationally.

In 2021, for the first time the ADII models the level of digital inclusion by Local Government Area (LGA) based on demographic patterns. The results show that, with its high employment and income levels, and relatively younger population, Roxby Downs is likely to be the most digitally included place in the state.

However, Roxby Downs is the only LGA outside of the greater Adelaide area that is above the state average as most regional areas struggle with digital inclusion.

“Digital inclusion is important in general because commerce, employment, education, social interactions and government services and information are all online, so being online is necessary to fully participate in society," said SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley.

"In regional South Australia it is increasingly essential and basic because digital technology can help overcome social isolation and distance from all sorts of vital services and markets.”

“The lower regional scores are not simply about poor services or network gaps. They are also crucially about social access and ability to utilise digital technology, so areas with lower incomes, higher levels of unemployment or older populations are likely to be the most digitally excluded.”

“While the Adelaide LGA scores are higher than regional South Australia, it is important to remember that, as a whole, South Australia is still behind the national average – something that urgently needs to be addressed if we want our state to prosper with no one left behind.”

“We know the SA government recognises this problem and we welcome the fact that they are now working on a state digital inclusion strategy. However, to continue to improve our digital inclusion will require more than just a strategy, it will require a long-term investment of resources to make it happen,” Mr Womersley stated.

For a model of what digital inclusion looks like in SA, and some SACOSS proposals of how to get there, go to our Digital Inclusion page.

About the The Australian Digital Inclusion Index

The ADII is put together by academics from RMIT and Swinburne University on behalf of Telstra and scores online access, affordability and digital ability against an ideal of someone with all the attributes to digital inclusion (score = 100).

Additional Information:

Local Government LGA Scores: Digital Inclusion in South Australia: Regional Data
SACOSS Fact Sheet: Digital Inclusion in South Australia: Regional Data