Swinburne University of Technology, School of Business, Law and Entrepreneurship—Centre for Social Impact
Australian Digital Inclusion Index
The Australian Digital Inclusion Index, a multi-year project that documents digital inclusion in Australia by both geography and demography, is the only comprehensive index of its kind.
Call to Action
The ADII was created to measure the level of digital inclusion across the Australian population and to monitor this over time. It has been developed through a collaborative partnership between Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Swinburne University of Technology, and Telstra. Data supporting the ADII from 2014 to 2020 was drawn from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.
In 2021, the ADII team redesigned the index based on original data collection and developed online tools to support local-level benchmarking activities by governments and community organizations. The ADII is designed to measure three key dimensions of digital inclusion: access, affordability, and digital ability. These dimensions are built from a range of survey questions relating to internet products, services, and activities. The dimensions contribute equally and combine to form the overall ADII that compiles numerous variables into a score ranging from zero to 100. The higher the overall score, the higher the level of inclusion. Scores are benchmarked against a “perfectly digitally included” individual—a hypothetical person who scores in the highest range for every variable.
This research project improves understanding of digital inclusion and its relationship to social and economic disadvantage in Australia. The ADII raises awareness of the social and economic impacts of digital inclusion, and informs business, government, and community organizations in developing strategies to improve digital participation of all Australians.
To date, over 3,000 ADII reports have been downloaded by more than 15,000 unique users. The research data has prompted further briefings to local, state, and federal government members to discuss policy initiatives to help bridge the growing social divide. The ADII data has been cited in the discussion paper documents supporting development of the federal government’s new Digital Economy Strategy 2030. It has also been cited in the design of the Be Connected program administered by the Department of Social Services to improve digital literacy of older Australians. CSI-Swinburne was subsequently selected to evaluate the Be Connected program over a three-year period.
The ADII team are regularly called upon by federal and state government departments to provide policy advice arising from ADII insights. Since the launch, the ADII attracted substantial national media and policy interest and has been featured across regional newspaper and radio outlets, highlighting the issues of digital inclusion and exclusion in Australia. The project also emphasizes the importance of partnerships with the telecommunications industry, government, and academia.