Why have a Digital Inclusion Statement?

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The Victorian Government is investing in our digital future to help make Victoria the most connected state in Australia.

The COVID‑19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of access to the online world.

Since March 2020, many Victorians have worked and studied from home. Businesses, service providers, community organisations and governments have moved online or expanded their digital presence.

We connect with families and friends online. It’s how we work, learn and volunteer. It’s how we grow our businesses. It’s how we access services, including from the Victorian Government.

The pandemic has reinforced the importance of digital tools and platforms in our personal, educational and professional lives.

The Victorian Government is investing in technology, infrastructure, and skills to improve our online access through a range of initiatives while upskilling Victorians and improving online safety.

For example, we have invested $58 million to improve mobile phone services across the state, in partnership with industry and the Commonwealth Government. In October 2022, we announced a $300 million investment to deliver 1,108 mobile infrastructure projects, which will improve the quality and consistency of mobile coverage where Victorians live and work.

By acting now, we're making sure all Victorians can benefit from our state's bright future.

We’re working across government and with businesses, councils, and communities to remove barriers so all Victorians can benefit from the economic, social, cultural, and community participation available in our online world.

We are setting clear, common goals, so no Victorian is left behind.

What is digital inclusion?

Digital inclusion means:

  • access to high‑quality internet through physical infrastructure, such as broadband and mobile networks, and a device to use the internet, such as a mobile phone, tablet, or computer
  • technology and services are accessible and inclusive for everyone, including people with low digital literacy or with low English proficiency
  • affordable digital services and technologies
  • the ability, skills, and confidence to use the technology and engage online

(Based on the Australian Digital Inclusion Index framework.)

Digital safety is also essential. People need to know how to keep their information safe, and avoid scams and misleading information.

Seeking Victorians’ views

To better understand mobile and broadband connectivity challenges faced across the state, the Victorian Government undertook extensive engagement with Victorians to inform the ongoing rollout of the Connecting Victoria program. While consultations with communities and businesses will continue throughout the program, our initial findings were clear.

Businesses and communities relied heavily on digital technology throughout the pandemic and said this was likely to increase. However, some people couldn’t participate online because they didn’t have reliable, high‑speed internet. Some Victorians, including older people, regional residents, and communities experiencing disadvantage, didn’t have the technology
or the skills to use it.

Affordability was also a problem, with some customers paying high prices for internet and mobile phone services. Others couldn’t afford a service at all.

How the pandemic changed the way we use technology

A 2021 Australian Communications and Media Authority consumer survey found more Australian adults used the internet compared with 2019.

For example, nearly all Australians (99 per cent) accessed the internet in the six months to June 2021. This was an increase from 90 per cent in 2019.

In 2017, research for Service Victoria found that 19 per cent of respondents chose not to use technology to connect with government. By 2021 this number had reduced to eight per cent.