The Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2021 (ADII), published today, shows digital inclusion at the national level is improving, but a substantial number of Australians remain excluded.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic requiring greater reliance on online technologies to manage daily life, digital inclusion is more important than ever; and while the nation has seen improvements overall, these improvements are not evenly shared by all Australians.
Key findings from the 2021 Index:
*ADII scores range from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the greater the level of digital inclusion. ADII scores are relative: they allow comparisons across different social groups and geographic areas, and over time.
* ADII scores may not add up due to rounding.
“Recent experience has underlined the importance of affordable and accessible digital services for all Australians. The Index results show we have more work to do to ensure that all Australians are included as we move online,” said Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT.
For Telstra, understanding the gaps across Australia helps them make sure they’re directing their support to the right areas.
“This data helps us make sure that we’re targeting our support to areas where we can really make a difference,” said Lyndall Stoyles, Telstra’s Group Executive for Sustainability, External Affairs and Legal.
“We’re building a connected future so everyone can thrive and, so that everyone truly means everyone,” Ms Stoyles said.
“Telstra runs a range of targeted programs that help people access, afford and develop digital ability whether that’s helping seniors be more tech savvy or providing supported services for vulnerable customers.”
First developed in 2015, the ADII is an annual study led by Telstra, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT, and the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne that provides a comprehensive picture of Australia’s online participation by measuring three key dimensions of digital inclusion: Access, Affordability, and Digital Ability.
The Index helps focus policymakers, businesses, and community organisations on the issue of digital inclusion and importantly informs the development of more effective policies, products, and programs to improve digital inclusion.
“The changes to Australians’ daily lives since the emergence of COVID-19 include huge digital uplift so that we can do more online,” said CSI Swinburne’s Director, Distinguished Professor Jo Barraket.
“This has deepened the digital divide and we need more than ever to understand and address the factors that are leaving people and places behind.”
Updates to the Index in 2021:
The Index was updated in 2021 using a new data set and methodology in response to a series of emerging challenges and opportunities, including:
The updated Index is underpinned by a purpose-built digital inclusion survey and also includes new interactive data dashboards.
For more information visit the Australian Digital Inclusion Index website or watch the recording of the ADII launch on 15 October, 2021.