Tasmanians are among the least likely people in Australia to benefit from digitalisation, a new report has found.
Research from Cisco and Gartner has ranked Australia as one of the world’s most digitally-ready countries, based on a digital readiness index used to examine 118 countries.
However, a local study ranking Australia’s state and territories against the same criteria has revealed a deep digital divide between Tasmania and the other states.
While Australia achieved an overall score of 17.34 out of a possible 25, Tasmania came in at just 9.65 – the second lowest score, ahead of the Northern Territory.
The research determined digital readiness by examining seven factors including: human capital, basic human needs, ease of doing business, technology infrastructure, technology adoption, start-up environment, and business and government investments.
Tasmania ranked the lowest in Australia for human capital, and second to last in terms of basic needs and technology adoption. However, for the areas of business and government investment, it was above average.
TasICT chief executive Phil Pyke said Tasmania lacked vision when it came to its digital literacy.
“There are challenges in Tasmania for many reasons. We don’t have the big industries and the government agencies we see in other states, but this is not just about ICT,” he said.
“It is about bringing people along for the digital expansion and when it comes to that, Tasmania has no big, state vision. We need to have a road map going forward and that needs to be industry driven.”
Cisco Australia vice president Ken Boal said the report showed cause for optimism for Tasmania’s digital future.
“We’ve conducted this study to highlight a problem that we believe can be positively addressed,” he said.
“To do it, we’ll need to bring together government, the private sector, academics, charities and regular Tasmanians to help bridge the gap between the territory and others states, and improve its digitally readiness.
“The Northern Transformation project from the University of Tasmania, with its new campuses at Burnie and Inveresk, are positive signs.
“The City Deals in Tasmania are also a good example of federal, state and local governments working together with the education and business sectors to create a more entrepreneurial culture.”