While digital technologies now play a significant role in almost all aspects of life, many South Australians lack basic online access. As a consequence, there is a digital divide that aligns with other areas of disadvantage, excluding people on the basis of income, age and disability. With government services and businesses moving online, often exclusively, existing disadvantages are compounded created an ever deepening divide that requires urgent government intervention.
According to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII), South Australia ranks as the worst jurisdiction in mainland Australia for digital disadvantage, performing well below the national average not just overall, but on each of the eight indicators measured.
The Greens believe that:
- Access to digital technologies is now vital component to economic and social inclusion
- Full digital inclusion is a necessity that allows South Australians to effectively access to a wide range of services including education, employment, communication, finance and health
- All Australians should have access to digital technologies
- Digital exclusion results in significant and growing disadvantage
- The State Government must take urgent action to bridge the digital divide
- A comprehensive digital inclusion policy must be implemented to address issues of access, affordability and digital ability
The Greens will:
- Establish and fund a taskforce to oversee a whole of government digital inclusion strategy, with the aim of bringing South Australia level with the ADII national average within five years and becoming the leading state or territory within ten years
- Provide free public Wi-Fi in areas of highest digital exclusion (based on the Adelaide CBD example)
- Make access to all government websites un-metred (free of all data charges)
- Expand the availability of free public internet access by investing in community hubs (eg libraries, community centres)
- Provide funding to assess the digital readiness of the community services sector and build capacity within the sector
- Improve digital literacy and confidence for those who need it through an investment of $5 million per year in adult and community education (as per SACOSS 2017-18 State Budget Submission)