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Telstra partners with ADM+S Centre to develop the first comprehensive study of digital inclusion in remote First Nations communities

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 18 November 2021

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) has partnered with Telstra on a four-year study which will measure digital inclusion across Australia’s remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The objectives of the project titled ‘Mapping the Digital Gap’ are to:

  1. Generate the most detailed account to date of the distribution of digital inclusion and uses of digital and media services within remote First Nations communities, and to track changes over time; and
  2. Support the development of appropriate community-driven strategies for addressing identified barriers to digital inclusion and building local capabilities to enable informed decision-making. These capabilities include the relevant data collection and analysis skills involved in the measurement of digital inclusion.

The project comes at a critical time with a new Closing the Gap target to close the digital inclusion gap by 2026, and with the digital transformation to online service delivery driving the need for improved access, affordability and digital ability throughout remote Australia.

Lauren Ganley, Head of First Nations Strategy & Engagement at Telstra, will work alongside ADM+S researchers on this comprehensive study, which is being undertaken in partnership with local organisations in up to 12 remote First Nations communities spread throughout remote Australia.

“Improving digital inclusion is a fundamental part of Telstra’s purpose – to build a connected future so everyone can thrive,” said Lauren.

“We can’t improve inclusion if we don’t properly understand the scale of the challenge and the barriers faced by remote First Nations communities. Which is why this research is so important and so timely.”

The project builds on the work of the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII), an annual study of Australia’s online participation, led by Telstra, the ADM+S Centre based at the School of Media and Communication at RMIT, and the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne.

ADM+S Centre Director Prof Julian Thomas said, “We’re delighted to be working with Telstra and First Nations communities on this timely project. We believe that there is an urgent need to improve access to digital services, affordability and digital ability for First Nations peoples across Australia”.

For more information visit the project page.


For media enquiries please contact:

  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT: Loren Dela Cruz on +613 9925 0226 or
  • Telstra: Steve Carey on 0413 988 640 or