Technology for social justice

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This month 150 people from around the country will gather in Darwin on a mission to unlock the digital potential of regional Australia.

Broadband for the Bush, an alliance of organisations including Infoxchange, will hold a forum on 15-16 July to promote digital inclusion and explore better and innovative infrastructure in the bush.

Participants at the forum will include Facebook, government, industry and education institutions.

Speakers will include our digital inclusion manager Brendan Fitzgerald.

Forum moderator and technology writer Brad Howarth says the internet should bring the world to your doorstep but much of Australia is missing out because of slow or non-existent internet.

Broadband for the Bush chairman Ray Heffernen recently told ABC radio that people in remote areas of Australia are hungry to use social media, especially to promote their businesses, but smartphones simply don’t work in many areas.

Brad says people think of broadband connection issues in terms of Africa and not a lot of people realise those problems reside here.

“Where a person lives should not determine their future life,” he says.

But access to the internet does affect your opportunities to access education, work and healthcare and to connect with the rest of the world.

“Broadband services are crucial in remote indigenous communities because it allows people to participate in modern society but keep that close connection to the land,” Brad says.

“The Broadband for the Bush Forum brings these issues to the fore in front of people who are capable of doing something about it.”

Brad says if everyone is connected to the internet and has digital skills it will benefit us all.

“We need to reshape Australia’s economy using digital technology,” he says.

“Australia is a small country of 24 million people we cannot afford to leave anyone behind.”

It’s not too late to register for the Broadband for the Bush Forum IV 15-16 July in Darwin.

Credit: Flickr/live_free_or_die_77

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