Local, Independant and Effective
August 29, 2016

Digital inclusion report reveals stark facts

A national report has revealed that Northern Victoria is one of the least digitally connected regions in Australia.

Measuring Australia’s Digital Divide: Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2016, a project by Telstra, Swinburne University of Technology and Roy Morgan Research, was released recently.

Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan said she was proud of the progress that had been made in the past two years, but the report showed there was a lot more work to do.

“We will continue to work hard to ensure that wherever you are in Australia you have access to digital services for work, education and to access government services,” Ms McGowan said.

“The residents of Indi deserve the same level of access as their city cousins so they can manage their health and wellbeing, access education and services, organise their finances, and connect with family, friends and the world beyond.”

Ms McGowan has actively lobbied government for improved mobile phone coverage and fast and efficient delivery of the NBN.

NBN is progressing throughout Indi. Parts of the fixed line NBN network in Wangaratta have been switched on recently and further construction continues in Wodonga and Wangaratta and other towns throughout the electorate. 57 fixed wireless NBN towers will service about 78 towns throughout Indi and much of these are online already. Other towns in Indi are currently connecting to the long-term satellite (Sky Muster).

Round one of Mobile Black-Spot Programme is rolling out 30 new base stations across Indi which is expected to deliver coverage to 199 locations.

The report showed that nationally, digital inclusion is now 6.6 points higher in capital cities than in country areas. The “Capital–Country gap” has widened overall. This “geographic digital divide” is largely due to widening gaps in Digital Ability and Affordability, while the Access gap has narrowed.

Northern Victoria recorded the state’s lowest score (43.8). This places Northern Victoria within the least digitally included regions in Australia, along with the Hunter region in NSW (41.2), North West Queensland (43.4), Eyre in South Australia (45.6), and much of regional WA (‘Other WA’, 47.4).

“People aged over 65, people with less than secondary education, people with disability and people not in paid employment are the greatest impacted by this,” Ms McGowan said.

“It’s not good enough and I will continue to fight for the rights of these vulnerable groups and the communities of Indi to ensure they have access to the digital technology they deserve.”

The full report can be found at: http://digitalinclusionindex.org.au

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