NSW working to improve digital access through new inclusion strategy


The NSW Government is calling on local communities, industry, community organisations, and government agencies to help shape the state’s first Digital Inclusion Strategy.

Digital inclusion refers to equitable opportunities for people to access, afford and engage with digital technologies, services and online resources.

People living in regional, rural and remote areas, socio-economically disadvantaged and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with disability, gender diverse people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are known to experience lower levels of digital inclusion.

The report Measuring Australia’s Digital Divide – Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2023 found between 24 and 42 per cent of these groups can be described as highly excluded from digital services.

In the first stage of the consultation, community members will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the Digital Inclusion Strategy discussion paper, while targeted stakeholder meetings, interviews and focus groups will also inform the strategy.

A Digital Inclusion Strategy and an accompanying Action Plan will underpin how future digital inclusion initiatives are identified, delivered and funded, as well as build on other government and community-led digital inclusion initiatives and programs already in place across NSW.

The development of the strategy and its initiatives will be spearheaded by the NSW Telco Authority as part of the NSW Government’s overarching Connectivity Strategy, which aims to bridge the digital divide for communities with limited access to digital services.

Participate in the public consultation or to learn more about the NSW Digital Inclusion Strategy.

To understand how an area compares to others in terms of digital connectivity, people can visit NSW Telco Authority’s new Digital Connectivity Index.

Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Jihad Dib said:

“In an increasingly digital world and with a shift towards online service delivery, including digital identity, healthcare, banking and social care, it is critical that no one gets left behind.”

“We want to work towards a future where everyone in NSW, regardless of their age, background, or location, can access and use digital connectivity and technologies.”

“This consultation is important, and we want as many people as possible to have their say on digital services.”

Digital Inclusion key data:

According to the 2023 Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) report:

  • Almost one in four people in Australia is digitally excluded, when considering factors of access, affordability and digital ability.
  • Almost 10 per cent of the Australian population is highly digitally excluded. This means they can’t access or afford a reliable internet connection and digital devices or use them effectively to further their participation in social, economic, and civic life.
  • People aged 65-74 recorded scores of 12.1 points below the national digital inclusion average, while those over 75 scored 24.6 points below the national average.
  • Digital exclusion is closely linked to economic disadvantages and cost of living, with almost 30 per cent of low-middle income households in NSW indicating they had to limit mobile phone use due to financial stress.
  • Households in the lowest income quintile are also less likely to have internet access (57 per cent) compared to those in the highest income quintile (82 per cent).

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