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Mapping the Digital Gap Community Outcomes Report from Wujal Wujal and Background Paper

Authors Leah Hawkins
Date 6 October 2022

The Mapping the Digital Gap research project have recently published a Community Outcomes Report from Wujal Wujal, Queensland and Background Paper which is available to read open-access on the APO. 

As Australia increasingly moves to online delivery of key services, access to reliable and affordable communications is critical for participation, informed decision-making, and agency.  

In Wujal Wujal, a remote First Nations community located 350 kilometres north of Cairns in Cape York Queensland, residents are reckoning with patchy and unreliable services, especially during the wet season, high pre-paid data costs, and sometimes sacrificing essential household expenses such as food and bills in order to afford Internet access.  

Like many remote First Nations communities, Wujal Wujal faces a range of specific barriers to digital inclusion and affordable and reliable use of media and online services.  

The Mapping the Digital Gap research team conducted its initial research trip to Wujal Wujal community in March 2022 in partnership with Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council (WWASC). It is the first in a series of research trips to the community over three years.  

The Mapping the Digital Gap project, being undertaken by ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) with funding partner Telstra, is conducting three rounds of research visits to 10-12 remote communities across Australia from 2022-24. The project aims to substantially expand our understanding of the uneven distribution of digital inclusion across the Australian population and support targeted community-driven solutions to bridge the digital gap. 

The Mapping the Digital Gap background paper provides a comprehensive overview of the project’s main objectives, policy and research context, methodology and research sites. It was released as part of the ADM+S Working Paper Series which communicates new research by ADM+S Centre members and collaborators in an open access format.

Based on 41 surveys and 21 interviews with residents and stakeholders, the Wujal Wujal Community Outcomes report outlines the findings from the research team’s initial visit and highlights the current access and use of media, communications and online services and the digital inclusion challenges in Wujal Wujal and surrounding communities. This report is intended to assist WWASC and community agencies to better understand the key barriers to digital inclusion in Wujal Wujal. The report, along with a digital inclusion plan, will assist in identifying infrastructure and program needs and enable a targeted approach for advocacy with government and industry stakeholders. 

These publications, alongside the Wilcannia Community Report in July, are the first in a series of reports that will be released this year. More Community Outcomes reports from the ten communities visited this year will be published in the coming months, as well as a Year One report.  

Read the Mapping the Digital Gap Background Paper and the Mapping the Digital Gap Wujal Wujal Community Outcomes report on the APO.