Creating Digital Inclusion for Indigenous Australians
3 December 2014 at 9:07 am
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are embracing new technologies, but significant barriers remain when it comes to participating fully in the digital economy and emerging social media culture, according to an e-book commissioned by the Telstra Foundation.
A number of influential Indigenous thinkers have shared their knowledge, insights and experience in Making the Connection, a free e-book aimed at identifying the pathways for greater Indigenous digital inclusion in Australia.
“The explosion in digital technologies and social media that is underway can either be another obstacle to indigenous communities pursuing social, economic and cultural opportunities, or a tool to overcome entrenched disadvantage,” Minister of Communications, Malcolm Turnbull said at the launch of the e-book.
“This e-book identifies new technologies and offers huge opportunities for Indigenous Australians, but grasping these opportunities will not happen by accident.
“It will take deliberate thought and action and this publication continues the critical conversation on how we ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people thrive in the digital age.”
Tim O’Leary, Telstra’s Director of Sustainability, said the rapid growth in communications technologies, including mobiles, broadband, the cloud and social media platforms, will inevitably continue to transform society, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“We can’t embrace the status quo or hold back the transformation, we need to work with communities to take full advantage of the opportunities they offer.
One of the contributors to Making the Connection, Jackie Huggins AM, said her story talks about how closing the gap between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is one way to build bridges towards greater social equity.
“The potential impact of digital inclusion for Indigenous Australians living in remote parts of this country in particular, is perhaps greater than many of us can even imagine,” Huggins said.
“Like the rest of the country, there is an opportunity to capture job and business opportunities, get educated and share stories, but these benefits are magnified for communities who live thousands of kilometres from the nearest university or business centre.”
Six essays are included in the collection, written by a range of contributors including Jackie Huggins, Tim O’Leary, social media practitioner Luke Pearson (founder of the @IndigenousX project), academic Dr Lester-Irabinna Rigney, CEO of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Jason Glanville, Telstra CEO David Thodey, and Lauren Ganley, General Manager of Telstra’s Indigenous Directorate .
The essays are free for download at: http://www.vividpublishing.com.au/makingtheconnection