Call to close Digital Divide

Members of the Tasmanian digital inclusion alliance including TasCOSS, TasICT, Beacon Foundation, The Smith Family, Carers Tasmania, COTA Tasmania, NILS Tasmania, Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania have joined forces to urge all political leaders to commit to policies and actions that improve digital access, affordability and ability to ensure no Tasmanian is left offline.

TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone said Tasmania was the most digitally disadvantaged state in the country, with more than 65,000 Tasmanians unable to participate online.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the digital divide in our state that without urgent action is at risk of becoming even wider,” Ms Picone said.

“Access to digital services is essential for daily life, in the same way as electricity and water, and as the first state to see the full rollout of the nbn network, we should be making the most of the opportunities that digital technology brings.

“From remote schooling, to working from home or researching and applying for jobs, having access to devices and the internet has never been more vital.”

The Tasmanian digital inclusion alliance have prepared a joint statement seeking commitments from all candidates and parties to a range of initiatives including improving Tasmania’s Australian Digital Inclusion Index score to at least the national average by 2025, introducing a telecommunications concession, and the provision of devices and dongles/data to all State Government school students from upper primary through to Year 12.