Deadly Digital Communities delivers technology in remote regions

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland can sharpen their digital literacy skills with applications now open for the 2020 Deadly Digital Communities program.

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minster for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said today that Deadly Digital Communities, an initiative of the State Library of Queensland and Telstra has been helping to close the digital divide in Queensland since 2017.

“In 2020, Queensland public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres can apply for funding up to $10,000 to host programs that encourage people to gain confidence and skills in accessing digital technologies and connecting online through free community-based and digital learning programs,” Ms Enoch said.

“Participants are able to learn practical skills such as how to use email and social media, seek information, register or pay bills online.

“As part of last year’s program, five remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including Aurukun Shire, Cook Shire, Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire and Torres Strait Island Regional councils boosted their skills by hosting a local technology leader to deliver the training.”

Mr Edward Natera, Chief Executive Officer, Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council, welcomed the Deadly Digital Communities opportunities.

“Pormpuraaw was one of the case studies in the Telstra commissioned Australian Digital Inclusion Index [ Australian Digital Inclusion Index ] which highlighted issues around affordability and access in our community; this funding means community members can access vital online services at no cost to them at Council’s Indigenous Knowledge Centre,” Mr Natera said

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald said Deadly Digital Communities helped to meet the needs in individual communities.

“Staff from the State Library of Queensland provide onsite professional development to local technology leaders,” Ms McDonald said.

“The program is already proving to be a success. Communities in Cherbourg and Palm Island have successfully implemented the program through their Indigenous Knowledge Centres and other service providers,” Ms McDonald said.

Michael Parks, Telstra’s acting Government, Regional Affairs and Sustainability Executive, said Telstra was committed to working with the Queensland Government to improve digital inclusion across the state.

“As more and more services and daily interactions move online, using digital technologies brings vital health, social and financial benefits – especially for people in regional and remote locations,” Mr Parks said.

“We believe that digital literacy has become an essential skill in the digital age. At Telstra, we want all Australians to have the option to connect, participate and interact in the digital world, irrespective of where they live – this is what this initiative is all about.”

Applications close 27 March.

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