Communication access in remote Indigenous communities

Thursday, 23 March 2017
Mr Matt Balogh
Dr Andy Johnston
Susan Locke

This presentation summarises the key findings of the 2016 Remote Indigenous Communications and Media Survey which found that:

  • One-in-eight adult Aboriginal Australians in remote areas does not have access to any telephone.
  • Less than one-in-three Indigenous people in remote communities have a computer or tablet computer;
  • 12 per cent of Remote Indigenous Australians don’t have a TV at home, but this is impeded by the fact that four-in-ten don’t have effective TV reception due to a non-operational VAST receiver;
  • Four-in-ten Indigenous Australians in remote communities do not have a radio at home;
  • Remote community residents are significantly more likely to read a newspaper than their urban counterparts.

Information required from the government is mostly accessed from TV (73 per cent) or the local community radio station (61 per cent). There is a mismatch between how information is obtained, and how residents would like to access information.

The research results show that conventional media is not optimal for government communications in remote communities. There is a requirement for tailored campaigns using a mix of local media. There is also a need to access to online media, communicate in a local language, and service and maintain a range of telecommunications and broadcasting services.