Digital Equity in Western Parkland City
The vision for the Western Parkland City is to be an inclusive and digitally capable region, where people are the focus, and everyone has equal access to technologies that benefit and create opportunities.
However, the Australian Digital Inclusion (ADII) Index (2020) has shown that the Outer West and South-West of Sydney is significantly lower than the Eastern City in areas including access, affordability, digital ability and awareness.
At a local level, this is apparent in the focus of community development programs across our region, however, it is difficult to quantify the true depth and breadth of this disadvantage and how to resolve.
With mainstream and government services increasingly moving to digital platforms, the need to ensure that all members of our community can participate in the digital ecosystem is critical for community wellbeing and growth and to ensure equal access to opportunities.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only highlighted but exacerbated the digital inequity experienced in this region and has made it a priority to address this divide.
The Digital Equity and Inclusion Insights Program
In response to the growing digital divide, a Digital Equity and Inclusion Office has been established within The Parks, to lead a program of work that will focus on two key objectives:
- Understand the depth and breadth of digital exclusion across The Parks area; and
- Provide access to new, targeted programs and guidance to help close the growing digital divide.
The programs, designed to target the digital needs of the community, will become part of an online hub focused on digital inclusion in the Western Parkland City. The hub will bring together local resources, support services and new programs, making it easy for people to access and locate the right information they need. It will also be used as a tool to raise awareness and encourage participation across Western Sydney communities that experience digital inequity.
The successful delivery of this program will enable the Western Parkland City to be a truly smart city and will create equitable opportunities to all members of the community.
The Program will be delivered in collaboration with a number of NSW Government agencies, as well as Swinburne University’s Centre for Social Impact and local community organisations.
The Program has been made possible by the Smart Places Acceleration Program, a $45 million allocation under the Digital Restart Fund.
The project is currently in a discovery phase involving service mapping, identifying community partnership opportunities and gathering feedback from community members.