The third Indigenous Focus Day saw 64 delegates from around Australia get together at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane on 7 June 2016, as part of the fifth annual Broadband for the Bush Forum. Over the course of the day, which was facilitated by Heron Loban of Griffith Law School, delegates attended 16 presentations. This included memorable keynote addresses by the Honourable Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, and Helen Milner, CEO of the Tinder Foundation.
The key themes to emerge from the day’s presentations were:
- Remote Indigenous communities remain the most digitally excluded population in Australia
- The major obstacles to connectivity are affordability and access, as well as cyber safety
- The key to engagement is having locally relevant projects, content and applications
- The focus should always be on people and relationships rather than technology
- Partnerships and knowledge sharing are key enablers
- Digital mentors are needed to increase skills and digital literacy in communities
Attendees were asked to distil their thinking into one big ‘ask’ or idea to put to policymakers.
The following are the three big ideas:
- Introduce a Universal Service Obligation underpinned by a set of principles (which are culturally appropriate and based on community need) to provide a minimum standard of internet connectivity in Australia, which will set Australia apart as a world leader in the digital innovation space.
- Recognise that digital inclusion is a human right, and to build digital citizenship through free (unmetered) access for all Australians, however remote, to essential online services and the skills and support to access them (reinforcing the theme that it’s not about the technology, but rather about people).
- Provide $60m to support Indigenous digital inclusion in 300 communities for two years. This funding would employ digital inclusion workers to provide training and technical support in media centres to build community capability and digitally empowered people.
Photos on our Flickr site here(link is external).
More information is available of the Broadband for the Bush website:
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