Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch announced on July 3 that Queensland’s remote and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will receive digital literacy training through a new programme, called Deadly Digital Communities.
Deadly Digital Communities is an initiative of the State Library of Queensland and Telstra in partnership with Indigenous Knowledge Centres (which are are owned and operated by Indigenous Shire Councils with financial support from the State Library) and local councils. The programme is aimed at helping these communities realise the social and economic benefits that the digital world can offer. It will be delivered through the State Library of Queensland, Telstra and local councils, providing community based training and professional development to 26 regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland.
Participants will learn about everything from sending an email to using social media to connect with family or to promote a business idea.
Deadly Digital Communities will commence in September and will roll out over two years to the communities of Aurukun, Cherbourg, Hope Vale, Lockhart River, Palm Island, Pormpuraaw, Wujal Wujal, Woorabinda, Bamaga, Injinoo, New Mapoon, Seisia and Umagico.
Another 13 Indigenous Knowledge Centres and remote public libraries will soon be added to the program.
Ms Enoch said,“This is a huge step towards closing the gap and improving the digital inclusion of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is programs like this that boost our state’s entrepreneurial culture, by giving all Queenslanders the skills needed for the jobs of the future.”
Telstra’s Chief Sustainability Officer Tim O’Leary said,“As more and more services and daily interactions move online, being able to use digital technologies brings vital health, social and financial benefits – especially for Indigenous people in remote locations.” He said that Telstra had expanded its network coverage to rural locations such as Aurukun and Burketown over the last few months, and that this project was another example of Telstra’s ability to work with the government to deliver innovative programs to regional and rural Australia.
State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald said that Deadly Digital Communities was indicative of the innovative programs the State Library delivered in collaboration with public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres throughout Queensland.
“Deadly Digital Communities will help realise the often untapped potential of these unique and vibrant communities,” she said.