Consultation First Step to Crossing Digital Divide

TasCOSS welcomes the State Government’s announcement of a major Statewide consultation and research project as a first step towards a digital inclusion strategy for all Tasmanians.

“This is a significant step and an important acknowledgement that inequality in our State extends to the essential service of digital technologies,” TasCOSS CEO Kym Goodes said.

“State and Federal Governments, many businesses, social activities, schools and tertiary institutions require an ability to access the Internet—digital access is essential to ensure equitable opportunities for economic and social participation.

“TasCOSS believes that the primary focus of the strategy should be to increase the capability and affordability for Tasmanians currently experiencing high levels of digital exclusion. Specifically this will include low income households, older Tasmanians, people with low education attainment and people not in paid employment. (Read Connecting All Tasmanians to Digital Services)

“TasCOSS’s consultations will build on the excellent work already undertaken by the Council on the Ageing Tasmania regarding the digital needs of older Tasmanians.

“Good governments know the solutions to inequality and exclusion lie within our communities.

“The consultation will provide a strong base for building an effective and practical strategy.”

The recent released report, Measuring Australia’s Digital Divide: The Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2018, confirms the gap between digitally included Tasmanians and those who are excluded has widened since last year.

“Tasmania’s NBN rollout is now largely complete and Tasmanians have taken up these services at a rapid rate, however the affordability of these services is below the national average, resulting in a significant number of our family members, friends and neighbours remaining excluded.

“Uptake in NBN services meant Tasmania rose by eight points in overall digital inclusion last year, however affordability remains below the national average. Our ability scnic@tasore has also increased since 2017 but we are still the nation’s poorest performing State when it comes to our ability to use digital services.”