Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Australia's 2008 eGovernment Survey results released

It has taken me a little while to post about this report, as when I first saw the media release in my webfeed I mistakenly thought this was news about the previous survey.

However having finally caught up, thanks to the eGovernment Resource Centre, I'm pleased to see that the 2008 eGovernment survey shows the same trends as previous years of increasing internet usage by Australians and increasing online engagement with government.

It also bursts a few of the prevalent myths about internet users, such as all internet users being young and hip (ok so they are all hip, but some of them are also older).

Some of the key findings included,
  • 79% of Australians use the internet, this decreases by age, with 94% of those 18-24 years old, 93% of those 25-34 years old, 90% of those 35-45 years old, 81% of those 45-54 years old, 74% of those 55-64 years old and only 44% of those over 65 years
  • Nearly two-thirds of people had contacted government by internet at least once in the previous twelve months
  • More than three in ten now use the internet for the majority (all or most) of their contact with government
  • The internet has replaced contact in person as the most common way people had last made contact with government
  • Those who use the internet to contact government have the highest levels of satisfaction followed closely by those who made contact in person. Those who used mail to contact government had the lowest levels of satisfaction.
  • Over two-thirds of people use broadband at home
  • More than four in five people use newer communication technologies at least monthly. The most common are email, SMS, news feeds, instant messaging, social networking sites and blogs
So, in short, 
  • most people can contact government online, 
  • more people are choosing online as their most preferred way to contact government, and
  • those that contact government using the internet are more satisfied.
That's a great story to sell to senior public servants!

The full report is available for download from the Department of Finance as, Interacting with Government - Australians' use and satisfaction with e-government services—2008


  1. I am pleased to see that us over 50's are taking to the net in much larger numbers - I am at last able to make contact with many of my peers and older family members who were slow on the uptake but have finally got there.

    I am impressed with the Aussie Government internet facilities. Having to deal with Centrelink because of a disabled child used to be one of the most stressful things about having a disabled child!! Being able to submit details online has made it much simpler and quicker.

  2. Will read the report, but I see this is about government services -- the easy stuff to get right. Its just a more efficient way to fill in forms really. Hopefully it creates citizen expectations/demands for more meaningful engagement with government.

  3. Sueblimely, you should pass on your comments directly to Centrelink. The more positive feedback organisations can get on their online systems the more it helps their Online teams get the resources to continue to improve them.

    Anonymous, I beg to differ on the ease of getting government services right. There are many complex processes in government and this can flow through into how people apply for, cancel or make modifications to their status and the services they receive (by choice or by law) from government.

    Forms are a particularly significant area, and it is important for agencies to make them as easy to complete as possible, both to reduce the burden on citizens and to ensure that the widest possible range of people can complete them without assistance.

    There's also a need to reduce duplication in how government asks for information across different processes - just as it can be annoying to authenticate yourself on the phone multiple times when calling a company (as occurred to me with a telecoms provider just yesterday - had to re-identify myself with the same information four times in one call!)

    This leaves a great deal of scope for transforming paper forms into wizard-like processes, asking key information once and using it multiple times within the same form completion session - or, with the customer's permission and appropriate security framework, storing their information in an authenticated service such that customers who need to frequently submit the same information have a reduced burden.

    The way I see it, government customers want to complete particular transactions, or access particular services or information. The form is the barrier to this goal. Government's aim is to lower this barrier as far as possible to support customers.