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Be Connected funding extension comes as welcome news

Good Things Foundation Australia welcomes today’s announcement that hundreds of thousands more Australians will benefit from the online world, thanks to the extension of the successful Be Connected digital skills program.

Minister for Social Services The Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP announced today at a Get Online Week event that Be Connected – the national program that provides essential digital skills support for over 50s – will be extended for another four years.

“We are thrilled that older Australians will get free, local support to access essential services, feel safer and more secure online and benefit from everything that digital technology offers, thanks to the continued funding of the Be Connected program,” says Jess Wilson, CEO of Good Things Foundation Australia.

The Australian Government announced that it will provide $42 million to extend the successful digital skills program until 2028. 

“It’s not just us who are thrilled with this announcement,” says Wilson. “Our national network of nearly 4,000 community partners receive small grant funding and capacity building support through this program so they can help older Australians in their community.

“What better time to get this news than during Get Online Week, our national campaign helping thousands of people to learn something new online!”

Good Things Foundation Australia is the national digital inclusion charity currently delivering the Be Connected program in partnership with eSafety and the Department of Social Services

This week, Good Things Foundation released new consumer research that showed 70% of over 65’s do not feel confident to keep up with tech as it rapidly changes around us.

To-date, the Be Connected program has supported over 1.7 million people to get online safely and with confidence. 

“As nearly 1 in 4 Australians remain digitally excluded, continued funding for Be Connected will prove vital to ensure that everyone is able to equally participate in the online world,” says Wilson.

“With nearly every aspect of life now online – from healthcare and government services to finding a job and staying in touch with loved ones – and the tech we use changing very quickly it’s critical that we help people get online and provide them with the free, friendly and local support they need to keep up.” 

Minister Rishworth agrees: “technology changes so rapidly, it is vital that no-one is excluded,” she said in today’s announcement.

“Increasing digital literacy can also help people feel more connected. Social media can help Australians to remain connected to their friends, family and broader community, reducing loneliness and isolation.”

To find out more about closing the digital divide, Get Online Week and Good Things Foundation, visit Get Online Week

For more information about the Be Connected program, visit the Department of Social Services website.

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