Original article from the joint media release between the Hon Michelle Rowlands MP, Minister for Communications, the Hon Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, and Ms Dot West OAM, Chair of the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group (FNDIAG). To directly view the Initial Report please see here.
The Albanese Government has today released the initial report of the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group (FNDIAG) that outlines positive steps towards narrowing the digital divide for First Nations Australians.
The report recommends practical measures to support greater digital inclusion in line with Target 17 in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. It aims to ensure First Nations people have access to information and services that enable participation in decision-making on matters that affect their own lives.
Digital inclusion is a deeply complex issue, with access, affordability and digital ability all playing a role in the extent to which First Nations people and communities are digitally included.
Digital inclusion enables a range of benefits, including supporting economic participation, access to government services, social connectedness, and enjoyment of entertainment and leisure activities.
Recognising this, the report provides a basis for the Australian Government’s continued investment and collaboration with First Nations people around three key issues:
- the delivery of targeted measures to improve access to connectivity, making sure it is affordable and fit for purpose, and that First Nations people are aware of their connectivity options and have the digital skills they need to be safe online;
- improving the national collection and use of data so that we can better assess the impact of measures delivered in community, as well as broader progress towards Target 17; and
- ensuring genuine engagement and collaboration with First Nations people and communities, and supporting their access to government programs and opportunities.
The recommendations in the report were informed by extensive engagement with stakeholders and First Nations communities, as well as the goals and priorities set out in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan 2023-2026, released earlier this year.
The report will be considered by the Government as it continues to work in partnership with First Nations people to remove the barriers to full participation in our digital society.
To read the full report, visit www.digitalinclusion.gov.au/reports
For more information on the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group, visit https://www.digitalinclusion.gov.au/.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
“Boosting digital inclusion is a key focus of the Australian Government – especially when it comes to supporting greater connectivity for First Nations Australians.
“Digital inclusion is a critical enabler for a wide range of other benefits – including health, education and social connectedness – that all Australians have the right to enjoy.
“We want to ensure all Australians can take advantage of the benefits of our increasingly digital society, and this report represents a positive step in that regard. I thank the Advisory Group for their important work in this space.”
Quotes attributable to The Hon Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians
“So many critical services are available online these days but the digital divide means some people are missing out.
“Improving digital inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is about ensuring that everyone can access the information they need to make important decisions about their lives, families and communities.
“I welcome this report as an important step in closing the digital divide in partnership with First Nations communities.”
Quotes attributable to Chair of the First Nations Digital Advisory Group, Ms Dot West OAM:
“The Advisory Group, with the support of our Expert Panel, is pleased that we have been able to deliver advice to the Government through our initial report which highlights some measures for implementation in assisting with closing the digital divide.
“Our task is to provide advice to Government on how Target 17 of Closing the Gap can be realised by 2026. The task may seem daunting, but we were reassured by a recent meeting we held with industry that it is achievable.
“To get there, it will take all levels of government, industry and the NGOs to work together with our communities to provide placed based solutions to the issues of access, affordability, digital and connectivity literacy.
“Our next steps are to develop a roadmap for First Nations digital inclusion, and to continue to engage closely with communities and stakeholders to better understand digital inclusion needs and priorities at the local level.”