RDA NT is a partner in the Northern Australia Communications Analysis project, led by the Queensland University of Technology. Other project partners include James Cook University, Charles Darwin University, the Centre for Appropriate Technology and Premise Consulting.
The purpose of the project is to identify barriers and devise solutions for digital inclusion in Northern Australia. At the request of the CRC, this project is focussed primarily on digital inclusion within the agricultural sector, in order to align more closely with the priority areas for the CRC Northern Australia.
Digital inclusion – access, affordability and digital ability – is essential to economic prosperity, social inclusion and community cohesiveness. Furthermore, digital exclusion exacerbates social and economic disadvantages, such as low-income status, low levels of education, and remoteness.
The project will culminate in a directions paper outlining a detailed road map for digital inclusion research, practice, and policy development for northern Australia. It will include case studies that provide a snapshot of the connectivity challenges and impacts in northern Australia, and a technical note will be produced detailing the identified solutions, potential ag tech opportunities and associated recommendations of this project. It will be presented in a format designed to assist producers in northern Australia to assess their connectivity needs and identify potential solutions.
In December 2019, the project team invited feedback on a draft Communique, which draws on insights from two forums held in Cairns and Darwin in 2019. This Communique has been prepared as an interim step toward developing the Directions Paper, to be published in mid-2020.