The digital divide
- QLD has a lower score than the national average for digital inclusion and ranks 5th out of Australia’s 8 states and territories.
- Western QLD is especially left behind in digital inclusion.
- Digital connection in rural QLD is significantly more expensive than other parts of the state and country.
- The gap in digital inclusion between Brisbane and rural QLD increased in 2018.
This research was undertaken by James Cook University’s The Cairns Institute, with funding from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), in partnership with Northern Gulf Resource Management Group. The research recommends that Queensland:
- Improve basic infrastructure and services at local scales
- Embrace alternative connectivity infrastructure
- Redefine affordability at the federal level
- Deliver targeted digital capability building programs
- Develop digital mentors, support brokers and upskill remote workers
- Empower rural local governments and community organisations to plan and deliver
- Adopt principles for a holistic digital inclusion policy
"The issues affecting us 6 years ago are ongoing and there are amazing businesses in the bush that deserve good technological infrastructure delivery. We really struggle a lot and have had to place an additional aerial on our existing aerial to try and get better reception. I have friends who are teaching children at home through distance education and they struggle as well. I don't think people in the heavily populated areas understand that it's not just about downloading movies, we rarely do that. Education is paramount for children and it is so difficult in these areas to get the same quality of delivery as students in other areas may take for granted."
Here's how it can be
A competitive agribusiness industry
Queensland farmers are able to take advantage of connectivity and digital farming practices. Every farm has access to the infrastructure and the skills to connect to the internet of things.
Improved education and services
Many hard-to-reach places in Queensland rely on telecommunications to access health and education. Let’s give our kids the best possible start in life, no matter where they are.