Digital Nation Conference Program

Program for Good Things Foundation Australia's 'Digital Nation: Building a Connected, Capable & Confident Country' Conference

Our first Australian digital inclusion conference Digital Nation: Building a Connected, Capable, Confident Country was held on 4th August 2021.

Select the plus symbols below to find out more about each session at the Digital Nation Conference. All program times are listed in AEST.

Find out more information about our conference and speakers.

9.15am: Online logins open

  • Login
  • Livestream open to connect at 9.15am

Welcome to Country by Uncle Allen Madden, Gadigal elder, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Welcome Address & Intro to the Day by Jess Wilson

Following a Welcome to Country by Uncle Allen Madden, Jess Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Good Things Foundation Australia, will welcome attendees to the Digital Nation Conference and kick-off proceedings.

Jess will launch Good Things Foundation’s brand new Digital Nation Australia 2021 report, which brings together the latest research from government, corporates, academia and not-for-profits on the digital divide, the impact of the pandemic on digital inclusion and what this means for those most at risk of being left behind.

We will start promptly at 9.30am, so make sure you connect to the livestream early!

Panel session: Who’s missing out in our digital nation?

The pace of digitisation has rapidly increased during the pandemic, with affordable digital access and the skills to use it now essential for work, education, accessing essential services and connecting with others. But, not everyone is set up to benefit equally in the digital economy.

Older Australians are one of the groups most at risk of being left behind, but there are many others who are also more likely to experience digital disadvantage. This includes low income families, refugees and new migrants, people with disabilities and First Nations peoples.

This panel session will talk through some of the communities at higher risk of experiencing digital exclusion, why that is the case, and what can be done about it.

Panelists will include:

  1. Wendy Field, Head of Policy & Programs, The Smith Family
  2. Sandra Elhelw-Wright, CEO, Settlement Council of Australia
  3. Dr Wayne Hawkins, Director of Inclusion, ACCAN
  4. Dennis Stokes, CEO, First Nations Media Australia

Keynote Address: Julie Inman-Grant, eSafety Commissioner.

Julie Inman Grant is Australia’s eSafety Commissioner. In this role, Julie leads the world’s first government regulatory agency committed to keeping its citizens safer online. Julie has extensive experience in the non-profit and government sectors, and spent two decades working in senior public policy and safety roles in the tech industry at Microsoft, Twitter and Adobe.

As Commissioner, Julie plays an important global role as Chair of the Child Dignity Alliance’s Technical Working Group and as a Board Member of the WePROTECT Global Alliance. She was recently designated one of Australia’s most influential women by the Australian Financial Review and a leading Australian in Foreign Affairs by the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2020, the World Economic Forum and Apolitical designated the Commissioner as one of the #Agile50, the world’s most influential leaders revolutionising government.

Julie Inman-Grant will deliver a keynote address on the importance of online safety in digital inclusion and when supporting those most at risk of being left behind to get online, plus the impact of the new Online Safety Act.

We will have a short ten minute break.

Panel Session – Connecting communities: how do digital mentors fit into the Australian digital inclusion landscape?

Join our panelists for a conversation about the role of digital mentors in closing the digital divide in local communities. In this session you will hear from:

  1. Professor Michael Dezuanni, Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology (QLD)
  2. Natika Hawes-Wright, ASCCA Lead Digital Mentor – Be Connected Project, ASCCA (WA)
  3. Tricia Pye, National Director and Lead Trainer, The Tec Exec Australia (NSW)

They will be sharing their practical experience, insights and the latest research on the role digital mentors have played in improving digital literacy, motivating people to learn and the skills needed by people who do this work in their community. This will include a focus on how digital mentoring has supported regional communities to stay connected during times of crisis.

Panel session: Can digital tech support good health and wellbeing?

In this session we explore if digital technology can support people to be happier, healthier and better off when it comes to their health and wellbeing, and answer the question of what is the role of digital inclusion in that?

Facilitated by Liz Jones, Head of Collaborative Projects at Good Things Foundation Australia, in this session we will be joined by guest speakers:

  1. Anthony McCosker, Associate Professor of Media & Communications, Swinburne University
  2. Dr Melinda Choy, GP & Academic Lecturer, Australian National University.


Optional: Networking lunch

For those who want to eat and chat during the lunch break, an optional networking space will be provided to meet other attendees at the Digital Nation Conference. This will be hosted online.

A series of interactive workshops will be held to dig in deeper to the practicalities of running digital inclusion programs for diverse communities in Australia.

Choose one topic from the following two workshops in Session 1:

  1. Running digital inclusion programs for learners with low levels of English proficiency or English as a second language.
  2. Supporting people in regional/rural Australia to improve their digital skills

Each workshop topic stream is outlined below.

Workshop Stream 1: Digital inclusion programs in culturally diverse communities

Leaders from three community organisations in Good Things Foundation’s national network will share how they are teaching different cultural groups to engage digitally and the positive impacts it has on their learners health and quality of life. This session will have a focus on how to support people to learn digital skills who don’t have English as their first language. 


  1. Hung Doan, Executive Officer and Program Manager, Indochinese Elderly Refugees Association (IERA)
  2. Corina Dutlow, Lead Digital Mentor, Australian-Filipino Community Services
  3. Carlos Encina, Manager, NSW SLASA (NSW Spanish and Latin American Association)

Workshop Stream 2: Delivering digital skills support in regional and rural communities

This workshop highlights another of our Network Partners, Derek Tink from Digital IQ, who lives and works in rural NSW. Derek has successfully implemented digital inclusion programs to locals including those who work on the land. Come along to this session to learn from his approach to supporting people in rural and regional communities to engage with technology, and the specific challenges and strategies needed to do this work in this environment.


  1. Derek Tink, Community Advisor, Digital IQ

A series of interactive workshops will be held to dig in deeper to the practicalities of running digital inclusion programs for diverse communities in Australia.

Choose one topic from the following two workshops in Session 2:

  1. Supporting younger adults and job seekers to build their digital skills for work
  2. Engaging volunteers when delivering digital skills programs.

Each workshop topic stream is outlined below.

Workshop Stream 1: The impact of helping job seekers gain digital skills

This interactive workshop will put attendees in the shoes of today’s job seeker. We’ll explore the level of digital literacy that is assumed when an organisation is looking to recruit an individual for a role and how to support people seeking to improve their digital skills for work.


  1. Stuart Bastock, Head of Training, Macquarie Community College

Workshop Stream 2: Engaging volunteers in digital skills programs

Join us for a hands-on 45 minute session where you will get the chance to hear from industry leaders Volunteering Australia on what it means to engage volunteers. One of our Network Partners, Libraries Tasmania, will also showcase how they have successfully implemented a volunteer initiative to assist with their digital skills program rollout.


  1. Mark Pearce, CEO, Volunteering Australia
  2. Sonya Moon, Community Learning Coordinator, Libraries Tasmania

We will have a short fifteen minute break.

Jack Growden is the 24-year old Founder & CEO of LiteHaus International, passionate about making access to digital technology equitable around the world. Since starting, LiteHaus International has provided more than 27,000 students with digital learning opportunities. For his efforts bridging the digital divide across Papua New Guinea, Australia and beyond, Jack has been recognised as the Queensland Emerging Philanthropist of the Year, an AMP Tomorrow Maker and was named one of Queensland’s Ten Most Inspiring People and one of the Top 20 social impact innovators under 35 in the Australia-ASEAN region in 2020.

Jack will share how he has worked to close the educational digital divide across rural, regional and remote Australia and Papua New Guinea, and the importance of access to digital learning tools and experiences for very remote developing world communities. Join us to hear Jack’s journey of starting up LiteHaus International and the impact that one person with an idea can have.

Keynote Address: Helen Milner OBE, Group CEO of Good Things Foundation will deliver a keynote address ‘Creating Digital Nations: Now and in the future’.

Helen has over 30 years experience of working in and leading organisations creating and delivering education over and about the internet. She was awarded an OBE for services to digital inclusion in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In 2017, she won the title of Digital Leader of the Year (UK) and was named by Computer Weekly as the 14th most influential person in UK IT in 2020. Working with British Parliament, Helen was a member of the Speaker’s Commission for Digital Democracy and an Advisor on Digital Engagement to the Public Accounts Committee. She is a Board Member of FutureDotNow, a member of the Minister’s Digital Skills Partnership Board, and is on the Adult Advisory Group for MaPS (the UK’s Money and Pension Service).

Helen Milner will bring her experience leading significant, impactful digital inclusion initiatives in the UK and Australia with this keynote address. Hear from an international perspective the new challenges of data poverty and low digital skills, and key learnings about digital inclusion from the past year as the world digitised at a faster pace than ever before. Helen will also highlight how we can work to close the digital divide, for everyone, for good.

We will back come together to celebrate the great day we have had and talk about what we can all do next to close the digital divide.

Hosted by Jess Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, and Jo Cavanagh OAM, Chair of Board, Good Things Foundation Australia

4.00pm: The Digital Nation Conference will conclude.