Tuesday, August 8, 2017
IRCA's General Manager Daniel Featherstone presented a letter to the Northern Territory Government calling on the Chief Minister to take a proposal to COAG for Indigenous Digital Inclusion to be added as a Closing the Gap measure. The letter from IRCA and the Broadband for the Bush Alliance, co-signed by 12 key national and NT organisations, argued that digital inclusion is both a pre-requisite and an enabler for the other Closing the Gap indicators such as health, education, and employment. The proposal came from delegates at the Indigenous Focus Day held at the recent Broadband for the Bush Forum in Fremantle WA.
The letter called for improved data collection and a targeted digital inclusion program to address this growing issue. This letter will be followed up by similar letters to the Prime Minister, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for Communications and the Arts and the State premiers to urge consideration by COAG as part of the current review of the Closing the Gap framework.
Daniel Featherstone said:
“Digital inclusion should now be considered a human right. More and more services essential for daily life are moving online, yet most remote people don’t have any means of accessing these. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially in remote Australia, are the most digitally excluded group in Australia. They need affordable and effective access to these services as well as the skills and means to connect, communicate and create online. This growing issue needs urgent attention now to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not become digital non-citizens."