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Public Internet access points bridging the digital divide.



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SENATOR THE HON IAN CAMPBELL Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Media Release

Public Internet access points bridging the digital divide The growing number of integrated and transactional online services across all sectors of the economy, including government, and the proliferation of public Internet access points across the nation is delivering enormous benefits to all Australians, Senator Ian Campbell, Parliamentary Secretary for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts said today.

'Federal Government agencies are moving from the first phase of electronic service delivery to the era of genuine e-Government with a wide array of services available online, and this is being matched by the establishment of an ever increasing number of public Internet access points - at telecentres, libraries, schools and wherever Australians undertake every day activities,' said Senator Campbell.

'You don't need the latest computer and training to access online government services. The Federal Government's Networking the Nation program has developed an expansive network of public Internet access points to enable all citizens to access services, including Government services, online.

'The Prime Minister's far-sighted commitment to have all appropriate services available online by 2001 has pushed all Federal Government agencies to think strategically about the delivery of services via the Internet - especially the delivery of online services that best suit their customers.

'The 3rd Government Online survey reported that, as at March 2001, 93 per cent of Federal Government agencies will meet the Prime Minister's 2001 commitment. Much work is being undertaken with the remaining agencies to assist them get over the line.

'According to AC Nielsen's 4th quarter 2000 GNETT survey of 20 countries, 65 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over had access to the Internet; and 46 per cent of the Australian population had Internet access at home via a PC.

'Public Internet access points are vital for those Australians without access to the Internet at home or work - to provide everything from easy access and no waiting in queues to access information and government services, to online banking and bill payment options.'

Senator Campbell referred to the National Office for the Information Economy's (NOIE) NetSpots resource - available at www.noie.gov.au/netspots - a national directory developed to enable people to find their nearest public Internet access facility. The NetSpots directory can be reached on 1800 222 797. This database currently lists almost 1200 public Internet access points - and is growing rapidly.

'The March 2001 Government Online survey identified 1315 online Government services, of which 147 (11 per cent) were also identified as specifically targeted at rural and regional Australia - this 11 per cent represents a substantial number of services over and above those which all Australians may require access to,' said Senator Campbell.

'The increasing presence of public Internet access facilities and online services, including those provided by governments such as the Federal Government's Networking the Nation program, are playing a key role in the further development of Australia's information economy.

'Public Internet access points are also providing additional services and the opportunity to reap time/money savings to all Australians - especially those in rural and regional Australia.'

Media contact: Georgia-Kate Schubert, Senator Campbell's Office 02 6277 3955 or 0419 265234 Website: www.dcita.gov.au/campbell

11 September 2001

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