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Digital Inclusion

The Deepening Divide - digital disadvantage in SA

Digital technologies are now taking a key role in our economic and social life, yet large numbers of people don’t have the online access or capability to help them with job hunting, education and training, social interaction and other supports that could improve their lives.

Digital inclusion is based on the premise that all Australians should be able to make full use of digital technologies – to manage their health and wellbeing, access education and services, organise their finances, and connect with friends and family and with the world beyond.

As more people, more businesses and more government services go online, the disadvantages of being digitally excluded increase - the digital divide becomes narrower but deeper. This digital exclusion reflects and compounds other areas of disadvantage, with people on lower incomes, older people, people living with disability all likely to be less included in the digital world.

The Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) measures three key dimensions of digital inclusion (access, affordability and digital ability) on the basis of a range of survey questions relating to internet products, services and activities. The answers are then benchmarked against a “perfectly digitally included” individual, a hypothetical person who scores in the highest range for every question.

The South Australian performance in the ADII was significantly behind the national average not just overall, but on every one of the eight indicators of access, affordability and digital ability.

Map of digital inclusion index state resultsThere were also important differences between Adelaide and the rest of South Australia, and among different groups within South Australia. People with disability in South Australia were among the most digitally excluded in the country according to the ADII. 

In our2017-18 State Budget Submission, Jobs and prosperity in our digital world, SACOSS called on the State Government to develop a broad strategy to address digital inclusion including making access to government websites free, investing in a comprehensive digital information and communication workforce re-engagement course and assisting the digital readiness of community service providers.

 

Digital inclusion is to be a major item in the SACOSS State Election 2018 Platform.

Further information

SACOSS Fact Sheet Digital Disadvantage in South Australiapublished April 2017.

SACOSS (2017) Jobs and Prosperity in Our Digital World: SACOSS 2017-18 State Budget Submission, South Australian Council of Social Service.

SACOSS (2016), Connectivity Costs: Telecommunications Affordability for Low Income Australians, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney.

Podcasts

Inclusion Index mapping people's access to digital technologies, interview with Professor Julian Thomas (author of the Australian Digital Inclusion Index) on Small Change, Radio Adelaide aired 14 March 2017.

Digital Inclusion for CALD and Older Australians, interviews with Christine and Ruth on Small Change, Radio Adelaide aired 14 March 2017.

People on low incomes face exclusion from digital technologies, interview with Susie on Small Change, Radio Adelaide aired 14 March 2017.