Reinvest digital savings to plug the accessibility gap


Happy woman with tablet pc

Australians’ lives are becoming ever more digital, and government is increasingly recognising that shift. But not everyone is connected to the internet in Australia so how do we make sure any growth is equalled by ability to use and navigate services online?

The ease of buying shoes or managing our banking over a mobile phone connected to the internet has changed our expectations regarding accessible services. But not everyone is connected to the internet in Australia, so how do we make sure any growth is equalled by ability to use and navigate services online?

Australian governments are attempting to deliver more of their services using mobile apps or over internet platforms such as myGov. The federal government’s ICT Sustainability Plan argues for the promotion of Government 2.0, listing the obvious benefits such as reducing costs and improving the convenience and speed of solving problems.

Yet lingering inequalities of access have made the shift to online service provision less effective. The term ‘digital divide’ describes a form of inequality derived from diminished access to technological services, such as internet access.

While basic access to the internet has improved in Australia, other divisions have become crucial: in speed, hardware and know-how. Educating people to use the internet to access services, and making this easy, should be the next step for government agencies attempting to push their services online.

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