Local News

NT Best For "Digital Inclusion"

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The launch of the national Get Online Week campaign organised by Good Things Foundation will take place on October 14 kicking off over 1000 community events to be held around the country including 19 in the NT.

Many Australians would be surprised to learn that over 2.5 million Australians are not online and 4 million have limited digital skills. The over- 65s are the least connected group in Australia and this has a severe impact on social inclusion and access to government services.

According to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) 2019 report, the NT’s ADII score (64.3) is higher than the national average (61.9) and has been for more years since the research became available in 2014. Improvements in the score has been driven by gains in digital access.

With more services increasingly using online portals for paying bills, accessing customer support, and finding work, the digital divide will grow unless concerted efforts are made to improve people’s skill set and confidence in connecting online.

“Apart from the social impact, this lack of digital skills has an impact on the economy, not only for innovation but also because most seniors who are working longer need to be digitally connected. Younger people also need the skills to find work and establish social and professional networks, “ said Jess Wilson, National Director, Good Things Foundation.

“The events being held across Australia this week by community organisations will provide opportunities at a local level for people seeking support, whether they’ve never been online before, or can do a little but wish to do more.”

Ranging from BBQ’s, morning teas and have-a-go events, the Get Online Week community events all aim to support people to get more out of life online.

Factors affecting getting online rankings include access, affordability and digital ability. On a world scale, according to a recent report from The Economist, Australia has a ranking of 15 out of 100 countries behind countries such as Portugal, Spain and Poland.

There is a city/rural divide in Australia, but nbn uptake has been playing a key role in reducing this divide according to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) 2019 report which shows an access rating of 75.7 in 2019 compared with 63.9 in 2014.

NBN Co is the primary supporting partner of the campaign. Head of nbn Local, Tim Saul said: “We’re very pleased to be supporting Get Online Week 2019 to help ensure even more Australians are given the best opportunity to get the most out of the nbn™ access network. We want to lift the digital capability of the nation to allow all Australians to take full advantage of the benefits of improved broadband.”

The report also notes that Indigenous inclusion is low with affordability and the prevalence of mobile phones being the main factors. There is additional data to indicate that migrant uptake shows a divide between recent arrivals and those who settled here some time ago.

There are 19 events around the Northern Territory as part of this year’s program, including 'Alice Springs on Wikipedia', Alice Springs Public Library, 15 and 17 October.

People needing support to learn digital skills can find a local Get Online Week event by contacting Good Things Foundation on 1300 795 897 or going to getonlineweek.com