An ambitious plan to help close the digital gap for Indigenous Australians with stronger and more reliable telco services has been launched by the federal government.
The First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan, launched on Sunday, aims to provide a framework for identifying priority actions for government, community, and industry to deliver reliable and affordable telecommunications services and appropriate training.
It comes as the Australian Digital Inclusion Index, released last week, found there remains a considerable digital gap between First Nations and non-First Nations Australians.
The new plan targets Closing The Gap Target 17: the elimination of digital inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
It will attempt to provide a holistic approach to tackling access, affordability, and ability to use digital services.
The plan is the culmination of two years of consultations, including six virtual roundtables with more than 100 participants, 11 one-on-one stakeholder meetings and 37 submissions to the consultation paper.
Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said it presents life-changing opportunities for First Nations communities.
“Digital inclusion means all Australians, including First Nations people, have access and use digital technologies effectively to improve their everyday lives,” Ms Burney said.
“Strengthening digital inclusion for First Nations people, especially if they live in regional or remote Australia, provides significant opportunities for increased connections to community, country and cultural identity.”
Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said all Australians deserve access to affordable and reliable connectivity.
“This is particularly critical for people living in rural and regional communities, where the tyranny of distance has the greatest impact,” Ms Rowland said.
An initial report on the plan is to be delivered to government shortly.
It comes as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese continues his campaign for the ‘yes’ vote in the upcoming Indigenous Voice to parliament referendum.