In this presentation, Professor Julian Thomas (Swinburne University ofTechnology) will discuss The Australian Digital Inclusion Index, ameasurement tool that addresses the need for informed public policy andprojects to enhance digital inclusion in Australia. As the Internet becomesincreasingly central to everyday life, the social and economic consequencesof digital exclusion also increase. However, the challenge of the “narrowingbut deepening” digital divide presents immediate problems for bothresearchers and policy makers. Although substantial progress has beenmade on understanding digital exclusion at national and community levelsin Australia, the absence of a sufficiently granular, longitudinal dataset hasbeen a continuing limitation across all disciplines. And without comparablemeasures of the digital divide, the benefits of interventions are oftenpoorly understood. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index is an ongoing,collaborative project which aims to address these issues. This talk outlinesthe Index’s objectives, design, main national and NSW findings, as well aspossible uses in research, policy and practice.
Professor Julian Thomas is Director of Swinburne University’s Institute forSocial Research. His recent publications include The Informal MediaEconomy (2015) and Internet on the Outstation: The Digital Divide andRemote Aboriginal Communities (2016).