First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan launched to address the digital divide

Minister Rowland speaking at FNDIP launch in Sydney
Minister Rowland speaking at First Nations Digital Inclusion launch in Sydney

First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan launched to address the digital divide

Author  Leah Hawkins
Date 26 July 2023

The First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan developed to support a secure, sustainable and inclusive digital future for First Nations Australians has been launched by Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland.

The First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan (FNDIP) seeks to address communications access, affordability and digital ability divides for First Nations communities.

“This is particularly critical for people living in rural and regional communities, where the tyranny of distance has the greatest impact,” said Minister Rowland at the launch in Darwin.

It comes as the findings from the first year of the Mapping the Digital Gap project were launched with the Australian Digital Inclusion Index last week, confirming a notable digital gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with the gap significantly higher for those in remote and very remote communities.

The FNDIP outlines a framework for delivering Target 17 (Access to Information) of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap by 2026, which aims for the elimination of digital inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. It incorporates targeted approaches to improving digital inclusion along the dimensions of access, affordability, and digital ability, and an emphasis on quality data – including that from the Mapping the Digital Gap project – to support the development agenda of First Nations communities.

Members of the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group and Expert Panel, Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker (ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT University) and Partner Investigator Lauren Ganley, (Head of Telstra’s First Nations Strategy & Engagement), spoke at the launch of the FNDIP. They discussed the work of the Advisory Group in the development of the Plan and the importance of closing the digital divide alongside Minister Rowland and Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney.

“Digital inclusion means all Australians, including First Nations people, have access and use digital technologies effectively to improve their everyday lives,” said Minister Burney.

“Strengthening digital inclusion for First Nations people, especially if they live in regional or remote Australia, provides significant opportunities for increased connections to community, country and cultural identity.”

The FNDIP has been developed by The Australian Government, represented by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), with relevant members of the Coalition of Peaks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and businesses and industry. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA), the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group, Australian Government agencies and relevant state and territory government agencies also contributed to development of the Plan.


ADM+S Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy Launch

Three women chatting amongst themselves
ADM+S Student Marwah Alaofi and fellow students at the 2023 ADM+S Summer School

ADM+S Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy Launch

Author Nick Walsh
Date 8 March 2023

We are delighted to celebrate International Women’s Day at ADM+S with the launch of our official ADM+S Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan.Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are integral to the ADM+S Centre’s mission: to create knowledge and strategies for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making (ADM). At ADM+S, we recognise that racism, colonialism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism are principal obstacles to equity, diversity and inclusion, and remain primary causes of injustice and inequality. We believe that responsible, ethical, and inclusive ADM can deliver broad social benefits, including reducing inequalities for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. This strong conviction guides our work as a Centre community and informs our EDI strategy.

In 2022, the priority of the ADM+S Equity and Diversity committee was to develop and monitor the implementation of a plan to advance equitable and inclusive initiatives across the Centre. This plan would support and encourage a diverse workforce reflecting our research, participant, and partner communities.  

It was developed through a series of workshops in which committee members identified key strategic objectives and incorporated feedback from the 2021 Centre EDI Survey and post-event surveys, as well as consideration of founding and ARC documents and best practice from other ARC CoEs and our host institutions.  

As part of our commitment to ensure equitable outcomes for our Centre community, the plan is not intended to be static but is designed to be reviewed continually. In November 2022, a second Centre-wide EDI survey was conducted, and the results will be used to inform the ongoing review of the strategy in 2023.

EDI Mission
Our EDI mission is to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive research community. This means fostering a culture that is:

  • consistent with the expectations of an ARC Centre of Excellence;
  • reflective of our research and training mission to support the creation of responsible, ethical, and inclusive ADM; and
  • aligned with world-leading best practice through our leadership, policies, behaviours and culture.

EDI Vision
Our vision is for ADM+S to be a leader in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion for our members, partners, and stakeholders. By recognising that our strength, distinctiveness, and potential lie in our people, and fostering an exemplary culture of diversity and inclusion, we will be at the forefront of addressing systemic inequalities that exist in academia (both in the workplace and in research practice) and ensure the Centre is a progressive organisation where all members, regardless of background, can do their best work in a professional and compassionate environment.

EDI Objectives

  1. To embrace and increase diversity in our Centre community and among our partners and networks.
  2. To foster an inclusive and participatory environment where everyone is safe, welcome, valued, heard, and respected.
  3. To establish an equitable culture where every person in the Centre has the opportunity and support to reach their full potential, and to acknowledge and address structural drivers of inequality, including but not limited to, racism, sexism, ableism, and colonialism.
  4. To improve and sustain research, employment, and study outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Our Action Plan begins with the high-level, major initiatives that we will progress to support our overall EDI mission, including our EDI committee, EDI surveys and EDI training. This is then followed by priorities and actions to support our four specific EDI objectives of equity, diversity, inclusion, and positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Read the ADM+S Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan