People connecting using smartphones and laptops, they are different but they are communicating together and sharing contents in the same community

The number of ‘highly excluded’ Australians with access to digital technology has declined but remains substantial, according to new data from the Australian Digital Inclusion Index. The Index measures digital inclusion across Access, Affordability and Digital Ability.

The ‘highly excluded’ are more likely to have a disability (24.5%), live in public housing (28.2%), have not completed secondary school (32.5%), or be over 75 years of age (42.3%).

Some Australians are particularly sensitive to affordability stress, including people with disability (55.1%), living in public housing (64.1%), over 75 years old (65.2%) and currently unemployed (69.4%).

Building on previous data of the Index, the 2023 ADII offers insight into the distribution of digital inclusion for different groups and areas of Australia over time, pinpointing which indicators have improved, where, and for whom. More tailored policies and programs can inform responses to help those experiencing digital inequalities and ensure gains from previous years are maintained.

Key findings:

  • Digital inclusion at the national level continues to steadily improve
  • There is a considerable digital gap between First Nations and non-First Nations people in Australia
  • The number of Australians who are ‘highly excluded’ has declined but remains substantial
  • The persistent divide between capital cities and other parts of the country continues to narrow, but the Digital Ability gap in particular remains considerable
  • Affordability has improved at a national level since 2021, however some groups experience much greater levels of affordability stress
  • Digital inclusion remains closely linked to age. The gap between younger and older Australians has grown slightly, especially for Digital Ability.

Project partners included Telstra, RMIT University and Swinburne University of Technology.