ADM+S Researchers at the 2023 ADII Launch
ADM+S Researchers at the 2023 ADII Launch

ADM+S and Telstra launch 2023 Australian Digital Inclusion Index

Author  Natalie Campbell
Date 26 July 2023

Together with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, Telstra has launched the 2023 Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) which reveals that digital inclusion is improving, but gaps remain persistent, and in some cases, have grown.

Telstra CEO Vicki Brady introduced the report and announced that digital inclusion is improving in Australia. However, findings indicate improvements are not being evenly shared.

Vicki Brady said “digital inclusion is based on the premise that everyone should be able to make full use of digital technologies and the benefits they bring. The index is all about measuring those trends of digital inclusion, and it measures across all states and territories in Australia.

Digital exclusion should not be an inevitable outcome of increased digitization, and there’s absolutely a need for ongoing conversation at a national level about what we do to address this.”

The ADII was first developed as a collaboration between Telstra and Swinburne University researchers in 2015 as a survey measure for three key dimensions of digital inclusion in Australia: Access, Affordability, and Digital Ability.*

Key Findings from the 2023 ADII Report
Figure: Key Findings from the 2023 ADII Report

The 2023 report indicates the overall ADII score continues in an upward trend from 67.5 in 2020, 71.1 in 2021, to the latest measure of 73.2.

*Data on these three measures is collected through surveys and weighted to the Australian population to produce a number between 0-100. These three scores are then combined (with equal weighting) to produce the overall digital inclusion/index score.

For the first time ever, the 2023 ADII measured the digital gap between First Nations and non-First Nations people in Australia. The gap is 7.5 points, with a considerably larger gap between First Nations and non-First Nations people living in remote (21.6 points) and very remote (23.5 points) areas.

Mapping the Digital Gap, a collaborative project between ADM+S and Telstra, enabled this statistic to be measured, by collecting digital inclusion data in 10 remote First Nations communities.

The ADII brings digital inclusion to the forefront of consideration for policymakers, businesses, and community organisations to inform the development of more effective policies, products, and programs to improve digital inclusion.

This year’s report found that the number of highly excluded Australians has dropped from 10.6% in 2021 to 9.4% in 2023. Digital ability has also improved nationally, from 64.4 points in 2021 to 64.9 points in 2023.

However, the recent report indicates while people with high levels of digital inclusion continue to grow their digital ability, those with lower digital inclusion are seeing smaller increases, and even some declines – particularly for people in the lower income bracket, or Australians aged over 75.

The 2023 report launch celebrated the continuing partnership between ADM+S and Telstra, and our joint mission to improve digital inclusion in Australia by identifying critical barriers through empirical research.