Understanding digital inequality in Victoria

Combining a state-wide inequality analysis with an in-depth examination of lived experiences of digital inequality to assist community advocates and policymakers in their work towards greater digital equality

Digital inclusion in Australia is influenced by a range of factors including income, age, education level and residential location. Approximately 2.5 million Australians do not have access to a reliable internet connection, revealing significant limitations in access, digital ability, and affordability despite major infrastructure investments.

This research project is a partnership between University-based researchers and the Carlton Local Agencies Network (CLAN) to create an in-depth understanding of digital inequality in Victoria.

At a macro level, this project will undertake a spatial inequality analysis to create interactive maps that identify the distribution of digital infrastructure in Victoria. The mapping component of this project enables users to visualise the mismatch of digital services and provides community members, policymakers and community advocates with information on digital and technology resources.

According to NBN 2020 figures, 32% of households at the Carlton Public Housing Estate are not connected to the internet. The microanalysis component of the project consists of a detailed case study of this local digital inequality. It will focus on the impacts of unequal internet access and affordability in the Estate by developing a qualitative research approach including a digital access survey, focus groups and in-depth interviews with members of the Carlton Public Housing Estate community.

Insights into the types of resources people in Carlton use to gain internet access will be used to provide targeted resources to other digital deserts identified in the state-wide digital inequality analysis.

University-based researchers

Dr Nicky Dulfer, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Associate Professor Leah Ruppanner, School of Social and Political Sciences

Catherine Smith, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Dr Marc Cheong, School of Computer and Information Systems

Dr Ellen van Holstein, School of Geography

Lia Acosta Rueda,  School of Social and Political Sciences

Dr Alice Garner, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Kerrii Cavanagh, Community Projects Officer, Strategy and Culture

Gavin Walsh, Support Centre Manager, Business Services

External collaborators

Fiona Darling,  City of Melbourne

Fiona Addison,  City of Melbourne

Louise Caddell,  City of Melbourne

Natasha Savic,  Yarra Libraries and Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance

Elle Morrell,  Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Sarah Deasey,  Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Khadra Omar,  MyPlace

Sally Beattie,  MyPlace

Bich-Hoa Ha,  cohealth

Sahil Puri,  Unilodge

For information about this project, please contact:

Dr Nicky Dulfer
Social Transformations and Education Research Hub
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
Phone +61 3 8344 8677
Email: dulfern@unimelb.edu.au