Monday, July 30, 2007

Putting the Australian Government Online for Remote Indigenous Communities

The 4th Annual Web Content Management for Government Conference, is 17-18 September 2007 in Canberra. The theme of the conference is "Harnessing the power of new technologies to build citizen-centric websites and encourage online activities" and I will be speaking on the first morning on how to do this for remote aboriginal communities:

Making websites accessible and functional for a diverse community:
  • Communicating and engaging diverse cultural audiences in Australia and worldwide
  • Providing sufficient and accurate information for people who with limited English
  • Using the information and digital technologies to support users with special requirements
  • Integrating web content to wireless and mobile devices
  • Testing the accessibility of websites to different citizen segments
When I was approached to speak at the conference, the suggested outline I was provided with included "aboriginal audiences". I changed this to "diverse cultural audiences", as I thought explicitly mentioning indigenous issues would be too controversial for government staff. However, the recent declaration of an emergency by the Prime Minister in response to a report on Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse will require responses from many government agencies.

Governments can provide access to information and services via the Internet in an accessible format to help address the needs of remote indigenous communities. This could allow the communities to govern themselves, with central oversight. Mutual obligation arrangements could be implemented in a more efficient and less intrusive way than by having temporary outside government staff rotated through the community.

New remote housing could have reliable digital communications built in. New schools could have computers and telecommunications built in for flexible learning, using the same techniques which MIT developed for teaching university physics, combined with the technologies in the Indian Simputer for use in villages and the $100 laptop for education of children in the third world.

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Tom Worthington said...

I was going to be speaking on "Making websites accessible and functional for a diverse community", 4th Annual Web Content Management for Government Conference.

However, a specialist on accessible web design for the disabled will be at the conference so I am leaving that topic to them. Instead I will talk on:

Government Services Via the Web in Regional Australia
Tom Worthington
Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University
Director of Professional Development, Australian Computer Society

* Optimizing web sites for new wireless regional networks
* Smartphones for managing pandemics
* Services for remote indigenous communities online
* Using the web to reduce regional carbon emissions

Several new wireless technologies are being introduced to regional areas of Australia. With a few small changes to their web sites, Government agencies can optimize their service delivery over these new delivery chains.

Smart phones are now readily available in agencies and companies, but are being used for little more than reading email. These can be effective tools to address rapidly emerging situations, such as a influenza pandemic.

Australian governments are addressing a critical issues in remote indigenous communities. Provision of government services, information and education via the web can supplement and support other delivery mechanisms.

September 06, 2007 8:54 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link or bookmark with Digg,, Newsvine or News Feed

<< Home