Digital inclusion report warns of COVID impact in Australia

A new study flagged out a high level of persisting digital inequality in Australia with many groups still not taping into the benefits of being online. The study, which is titled Measuring Australia’s Digital Divide: Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2020, was developed by RMIT University’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre and Swinburne University’s Centre for Social Impact in partnership with Telstra and powered by Roy Morgan data. It looks at digital Inclusion with a special focus on three dimensions: access, affordability, and digital ability, and identifies the challenges to bridge the digital divide in Australia. It revealed that digital inclusion is increasing in Australia, but the rate of increase is slowing. Yet, the gaps between digitally included and excluded Australians are substantial and widening for some groups. ‘Those most vulnerable to COVID-19 are also most likely to be digitally excluded and with that comes very real health and mental health risks,’ noted Telstra Group Executive Lyndall Stoyles. The study also recommends building digital confidence to safely and securely use the Internet to enhance digital inclusion.