Today's launch of the 2023 Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) shows South Australia continues to make progress compared to the rest of the country - but much remains to be done.
The ADII measures if Australians can access and use digital technologies effectively across three main categories: Access, Affordability and Digital Ability.
Its major findings for South Australia include:
- Approximately 132,000 South Australian adults are classified as 'highly excluded' (based on the national average of 9.4%)
- South Australia is beginning to catch up in the overall index (the three main categories of Access, Affordability and Digital Ability combined), with the gap between SA and the national average down to just 1.2 percentage points. However, SA still ranks in the bottom third of states and territories, above only Tasmania and the NT.
- South Australia has closed the gap completely in the Affordability category and has the same level as the national average
- Concerningly SA still trails the national average in Access and Digital Ability by 2.0 and 2.9 percentage points respectively
The ADII is released biennially in a partnership between Telstra, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Decision-Making and Society, and RMIT and Swinburne Universities.
Quotes attributable to SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley
“Digital inclusion is a crucial way to prevent poverty. The ADII continues to show that there are winners and losers when it comes to digital access, affordability and ability.
"What we do know is that being excluded or remaining unconnected from the digital world almost certainly means you will struggle to participate fully in today's social, economic and civil society.
"This reduces your opportunities on so many fronts: getting an education, connecting to vital government or business services, finding a job, staying in contact with loved ones, or consulting a health provider.
"We urgently need a comprehensive plan from our state and federal governments to ensure no-one in our community misses out.
"This year's Index shows that digital inclusion increases with education, employment and income. For example, there's a gap between of nearly 29 percentage points in the overall digital inclusion index between those in the top 20% of income and those in the lowest 20%.
"First Nations communities also have lower rates of digital inclusion, and we welcome the focus of this year's report on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to be affected.
"SACOSS is already working with the Local Government Association through its Keys to the Digital World project to examine how South Australians, particularly those in regional communities, are coping with the increasing trend of services and other essential activities moving online. We hope to report on our findings by the end of this year."