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.


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