2021 State Election Joint Statement on Digital Inclusion

Digital inclusion is about making sure everyone can make full use of digital technologies so they can enjoy the social and economic benefits it provides.

Tasmania is the most digitally disadvantaged state in the country and consistently scores the lowest or near-lowest in the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII). As the first state to see the full rollout of the nbn network, Tasmania should be making the most of the opportunities that digital technology brings.

Many Tasmanians are, but for more than 65,000 of us the benefits are out of reach. Some don’t have access to affordable internet, while others don’t have the skills or confidence to use and make the most of digital technologies and access.

The digital inclusion alliance* seek the following commitment from all candidates and parties:

To improve Tasmania’s ADII score across all indices to at least the national average by 2025.

This will partly be achieved by endorsing and appropriately funding the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Council recommendations number 10, 34 and 35 with clear timelines and reporting against progress. It will also require commitments to:

Digital ability

  • Invest in community-based digital literacy initiatives, possibly along the lines of the 26TEN Communities model.
  • Renew focus in Tasmanian schools and TasTAFE on digital literacy and lifelong learning of digital skills.

Digital affordability

  • Introduce a telecommunications concession along the lines of the energy concession.
  • Work with telecommunications companies to introduce low cost plans for mobile and broadband.
  • Work with telecommunications companies to unmeter access to government, emergency and essential services websites.

Digital access

  • Create a ‘Community Connect’ infrastructure fund to invest in infrastructure extension to regional and rural Tasmania to ensure more Tasmanians have access to reliable, high speed internet.
  • Provide devices and dongles/data (where required) to all State Government school students from upper primary through to Year 12.
  • Establish a grants program for community service organisations to allow service users to access devices.
  • Invest in digitising key government services so they are tested by and accessible to all Tasmanians.

* Beacon Foundation, Carers Tasmania, Council on the Ageing (COTA) Tasmania, No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) Tasmania, Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania, The Smith Family, Tasmanian Council of Social Service and TasICT.