August 1, 2017

Media Release: More Australians Online, But More Work to be Done

Tuesday, 1 August, 2017

Online participation is increasing across Australia, however gaps continue to exist between those who are digitally included and excluded, linked closely to social exclusion and disadvantage.

Today’s release of the second Australian Digital Inclusion Index reveals a four year picture of online participation across Australia, examining the three areas of online access, affordability and digital ability.

The Index was compiled by researchers at RMIT University, in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology, Telstra and Roy Morgan Research.

Key findings of the Index include:

  • Digital inclusion is improving across Australia nationally and in all states and territories, with Australians doing more and spending more time online.
  • Digital inclusion gaps exist, Australians with low levels of income, education and employment are less digitally included – as well as Indigenous Australians and people with a disability.
  • The digital inclusion gaps are widening between older Australians and younger Australians, and those on low incomes compared to high income earners.
  • Affordability remains a challenge for those on a low income. While the value of online services has improved, people are adopting more services and spending more on them.
  • Digital ability remains a key area for national improvement, with skills and confidence identified as a significant barrier to Australians maximising the benefits of being online, especially older Australians.
  • Geographical disparities exist across Australia, with some areas showing higher digital inclusion than others, including capital cities compared with regional areas.
  • Mobile-only users are less digitally included than multi-platform users, with mobile-only consumers linked closely to socio-economic factors such as lower levels of income, education and employment.

 Lead researcher, Professor Julian Thomas from RMIT’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre said there are still around three million Australians who are not online and as a result are missing out on the education, health, social, and financial benefits that come with connection.

“What we’ve found is that nationally, digital inclusion is improving, but there is much more work to be done,” said Professor Thomas. “We can see that there are particular groups who are more likely to be digitally excluded, and who lack the ability to maximise the benefits of being online. As an increasing number of essential services and essential communications move online, the divide is getting deeper.”

Professor Jo Barraket, Director of the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, said that the Index shows that digital inclusion follows some clear economic and social contours, with Australians who have lower levels of income, education and employment less likely to be online.

“Digital inclusion has become fundamental to participation in economic and social activities at a community, national and global level,” Professor Barraket said. “The Index is a vital information tool to shine a light on areas of exclusion and with four years of data we’re now able to get a longer term view of trends that are significant.”

Telstra’s General Manager of Digital Inclusion Nancie-Lee Robinson said that the Index was being used by Telstra partners across the community, government, education, and corporate sectors who are focused on addressing digital inclusion.

“We wanted to help create an information tool to inform not only our work in addressing digital inclusion – but that of others in this space. Over the past 12 months we know that our partners have been using this information to focus and refine their work to address digital inclusion gaps,” Ms Robinson said.

“As we continue to head down the digital highway, being online is becoming a pre-requisite, not a choice, and those who are excluded will become significantly more marginalised. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index is about understanding the drivers of digital inclusion to help us bridge the gap.”

The Index is based on data from Roy Morgan Research, obtained from their ongoing Single Source survey of n=50,000 Australians per annum.

To view the Australia Digital Inclusion Index Report, visit



CSI Media Contact: Nicola Hannigan, phone 0407 075 307 



Telstra Media contact: Chris Marks, phone 0475 963 824


Media reference number: 085/2017


More information:


Telstra and digital inclusion

Telstra’s Everyone Connected programs focus on addressing digital inclusion and empowering all Australians to enjoy the benefits that new communication technologies can bring. Through our Everyone Connected programs, Telstra works to help its most vulnerable customers and communities connect and interact safely in the digital world. More about Telstra’s Everyone Connected programs at Telstra is a leading telecommunications and information services company. We offer a full range of services and compete in all telecommunications markets in Australia, operating the largest mobile and Wi-Fi networks. Globally, we provide end-to-end solutions and have licenses in Asia, Europe and the United States and offer access to more than 2,000 points of presence across the globe. For more information visit


Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) is an independent, not-for-profit research and education partnership spanning three of Australia’s leading universities: UNSW Australia, Swinburne University of Technology, and The University of Western Australia. CSI acts as a catalyst for social change by creating knowledge through research, and transferring that knowledge through teaching and public engagement. CSI Swinburne’s focus is on developing leaders, organisations, and policy conditions that support progressive social change in the areas of: social innovation; social investment and philanthropy; business and social impact; and measuring and demonstrating social value.


The Digital Ethnography Research Centre, RMIT University

The Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) at RMIT University focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out. DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors. DERC’s research is incisive, interventional and internationally leading. Going beyond the call of pure academia, DERC combines academic scholarship with applied practice to produce innovative research, analysis and dissemination projects.


Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research has more than 70 years’ experience tracking consumer and social trends, and developing innovative methodologies and new technologies. Proudly independent, the research company has built a reputation based on our accurate data and products which include our extensive Single Source survey, and new digital research technologies such as Helix Personas, and Roy Morgan Audiences. More about Roy Morgan at

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