Mapping the Digital Gap in Wilcannia | February 2022
22 April 2022
Brendon Adams, Wilcannia Site Manager, Regional Enterprise Development Institute (REDI.E)
Anthony Wiltshire, Co-Researcher, REDI.E
Dr Daniel Featherstone, Senior Research Fellow, ADM+S
Shaylin Whyman, Co-Researcher, REDI.E
Watch the recording
Duration: 0:06:17


♪ “Our Country, Our Way” by Desert Pea Media and Wilcannia Community playing ♪\

Brendon Adams: Communication is one of the most important resources we need. It’s really essential that we need to voice to Australia, you know, the issues that we face on a daily basis. It impacts on our education, it impacts on our employment, it impacts on our everyday lives through social and emotional wellbeing.

During the pandemic it was really highlighted in that – especially around our young people that had to stay home from school. So every day missing out on school meant every day they were losing that quality education they deserve.

‘The Point’ narrator: Another big problem exposed by the town’s COVID crisis was the terrible Internet access.

Anthony Wiltshire: And how you make and receive phone calls?

‘The Point’ narrator: A team of researchers has been working with the community to Map the Digital Gap and come up with some local solutions over the next four years.

Daniel Featherstone: During COVID, it was obviously a really big issue for a lot of our communities, where people weren’t able to work from home or do home schooling or access services that were closed down during lockdown periods. And so a lot of people in remote communities were left out completely from having access to what many of the people in mainstream, urban and regional areas were able to do.

Anthony: So how many people in your house have a mobile phone?

Brendon: In 2026, digital inclusion is supposed to be part of closing the gap. And this is our evidence that we need to show to the government that we should get the exactly same type of service we need for, Wilcannia that you get in Dubbo, that you get in Sydney and Melbourne and all those areas. So right now we’re working really hard to get that evidence together.

Anthony: My name is Anthony Wiltshire, I’m Shaylin’s husband. I’m originally – Horse Creek is my hometown in WA in the Kimberleys. My ethnic background is from the Torres Strait, Erub Island, and also Fijian as well. So yeah, that’s me.

Shaylin Whyman: And my name is Shaylin Whyman, I’m a Baarkandji woman from Wilcannia, born and raised here. Yeah.

Anthony: So we’ve been co-researchers for the RMIT University. So those was a team that came from Victoria that came here just to see, just to get another view of what the Internet service and that is like. So our job was to do a survey into the community and see what their response was.

Shaylin: I was really nervous at first, but then after a while, I got used to doing the surveys and yeah, it was kind of easy then.

Brendon: What personal achievements did you get from that?
Shaylin: Oh, learning how to do interviews with people in the community and to do surveys as well.


Brendon: Why do you think you feel that this would be, could be a good type of work you could get into?

Shaylin: I guess just interacting with different people and community members and yeah, all the organizations. So yeah, it’s really good

Brendon: For me, it’s been like one voice. But now, you know, with the remarkable work with our local co-researchers and of course [the research] team, we got to hear over 100 voices in a few days. And that is – that’s remarkable. I’m very proud that I was part of that partnership.

Anthony: I didn’t realize that we did that much because yeah, it’s just people coming from all around the community you know, coming one after the other, and we’re just saying the questions and doing the interviews and that. Yeah, I think I’ve never said so much words in my life.

Shaylin: Yeah, it was real exciting. We wasn’t expecting that many people to turn up, but it was really good.

Brendon: The feedback alone showed us it was really worthwhile and I was very happy, so proud of our two young local workers because they get to not just participate in experience, but get to be also part of that journey to have the equal rights of – the human rights of having the same mobile and Internet service in our community. RMIT, with REDI.E, with our local community, made a big difference in ensuring that we got the best outcome possible.

Anthony: I’m really glad that they, you know, come here to, you know, be on the ground and see what’s going on in the community and to allow us to, you know, work alongside them to do the surveys and interviews. Yeah, I think it’s a big plus and just yeah, I really thank them for that.

Shaylin: That was really good. I think it made it a bit easier for the community members coming in seeing a familiar face. So I think that made the whole process a bit easier for all. And yeah, a bit more comfortable.

Brendon: Alright, last one. BB Adams: Deadly to work with or not, come on? Shaylin: Oh, terrible. Nah, really good worker, yeah.

Anthony: Yeah, oh, yeah. Really good worker.

Brendon: Alright, thanks.


A huge thanks to:
Brendon Adams – REDI.E Team Leader
Shaylin Whyman – Co-Researcher
Anthony Wiltshire- Co-Researcher
Wilcannia River radio – drone footage
NITV- survey footage
Desert Pea Media – Music
All the research participants
Wilcannia community
Produced in partnership by Regional Enterprise Development Institute and RMIT University February 2022