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Census Internet figures indicate that the job is only half done.

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Senator Kate Lundy Senator for the Australian Capital Territory Shadow Minister for Information Technology and Sport

Census Internet figures indicate that the job is only half done

Australians should be congratulated for being so quick to adopt the Internet as a new communications medium, Senator Kate Lundy, the Shadow Minister for Information Technology, said today.

New ABS figures show that almost 7 million Australians had used the Internet in the week preceding the 2001 Census.

“Email and the World Wide Web are vitally important communication tools, and it is great that Australians have been quick to adopt these technologies,” Senator Lundy said

“Although these figures are welcome, they fail to indicate the real and growing chasm between information ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. In particular, those ‘have nots’ with the lowest incomes are the least able to get connected to the Internet.

“Previous studies have made it clear - the wealthier you are the more likely it is you will be connected to the Internet. This points to the need for a more pro-active strategy to close the digital divide.

“The Coalition is doing little to bridge this digital divide.

“Labor believes in a fair go for everyone, and this applies to the digital realm. As Shadow Minister for Information Technology I will be consulting widely within the community to develop policies to address this inequity.

“If our community is to benefit as a whole from the information revolution, then all Australians must be included, and only Labor is committed to achieving this,” Senator Lundy concluded.

18 June 2002. Media contact: Simon Tatz on (02) 6277 3334 or 0418 488 295.