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Family focus for historic online Australia day



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SENATOR THE HON RICHARD ALSTON Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

FAMILY FOCUS FOR HISTORIC ONLINE AUSTRALIA DAY

Encouraging families to use the internet will be a key focus for Australia’s first Online Australia Day to be held on 27 November this year, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said today.

A special website to encourage family use of the internet and safeguard children against unsuitable material is to be launched on Online Australia Day. It will offer advice to parents on supervising internet use. tools available to screen material, links to sites developed for children, and other family information such as child accident prevention.

The website is being produced by the National Office for the Information Economy and the Australian Broadcasting Authority.

'Other activities on Online Australia Day such as “virtual classrooms” and internet demonstrations in public places such as shopping mails and libraries will give families hands on experience of the internet,’ Senator Alston said.

'This unique Day will bring the community together online, with specific focus on demonstrating how the internet can enrich the lives of all Australians. It will also provide the opportunity for businesses to showcase their contribution to the global information economy and for governments to illustrate innovation in the delivery of online services.’

The central focus will be the Australian Virtual Expo, a specially created website that will showcase Australia’s online capabilities and services and present a broad spectrum of community and cultural life. The website will include contributions from major corporations, small businesses, government departments, community organisations, media groups, arts and sports organisations.

A host of online and 'offline’ events will take place across the country, including:

• Online Australia open days staged by more than 700 internet community access points, including libraries and schools; • demonstration of a Virtual Classroom linking more than 40 schools throughout Australia; • launch of the Farm wide Regional Access Network satellite trial, bringing online

400 subscribers in remote areas of Australia; • online chats with television, film and sporting celebrities

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• a showcase of South Australia’s key online cultural, health, educational and commercial initiatives - all under a canopy in Rundle Mall. This will include public internet access and demonstrations, together with the seminars and access available through the Ngapartji Multimedia Centre;

• the Tasmanian Government’s Online Australia Day on Ice’, which includes "live feeds’ from Antarctica and real time footage of expeditions. The Tasmanian Government is also organising a Community Open Day through community access centres, Service Tasmania shops, libraries and schools across the State; • special open days to be held at the 51 West Australian telecentres across the State.

These will showcase ways in which the community can participate through the internet, and educate people about the benefits of the online world. • free internet training seminars at the State Library of Queensland, Southbank, and a Community Cyber Challenge to be held at the Australian Silicon Studio Training

Centre;

• a virtual mall online market - a replica of a traditional Darwin market - showcasing business in the Northern Territory and the benefits of e-commerce. The Northern Territory will also stage an online treasure hunt using Territory business sites. The Minister for Communications and Advanced Technology will draw the winning entry on Online Australia Day.

The OnlineAustralia Virtual Expo Website, including the family site, will be launched on November 27 and remain online as a unique resource throughout Online Australia Year, 1999. It will be able to be accessed at www.onlineaustralia.net.au An information and registration site is currently available at www. onlineaustralia. net. au There is also a toll free telephone hotline for further information - 1800 000 255.

Media Contact: Terry O’Connor, Minister’s office 02 6277 7480 Website www. richardalston. dca. gov, au_______________________

194/98 3 November 1998