A new government investment will help senior Australians remain connected with friends and family online and learn new skills
A new government investment will help senior Australians remain connected with friends and family online and learn new skills

New program to help local seniors stay connected

Older residents in Hinkler will be encouraged to bridge the digital divide through a new government investment to help senior Australians remain connected with friends and family online and learn new skills.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said the Federal Government would provide $28.3 million to extend the Be Connected program, in partnership with the eSafety Commissioner, to offer a range of learning services.

“Be Connected can be a starting point to learn the basics and the benefits of going online,” he said.

“With more than 46,000 people aged 60 and older across Hinkler, I encourage residents to take advantage of the local organisations that deliver the program to become more proficient in everyday digital technologies.

“Be Connected offers a comprehensive catalogue of skills including being safe online, connecting with family and friends and accessing important government and other essential services like online banking from home.”

Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said access to devices and the internet is essential to support people to continue their learning and remain connected with their family, friends, and online services.

“The initiative has helped more than half a million older Australians to use Instagram and Facebook to beat loneliness and stay connected with their tech-savvy kids and grandkids and will now be rolled out further across the country.”

A newly released Swinburne University report found that Be Connected had a statistically significant impact on participants’ digital skills, knowledge and confidence and promoted online safety and social connectedness.

The evaluation also found that older female participants were more likely to start with very low to moderate digital skills and confidence but experienced the greatest improvement following involvement with Be Connected.

Existing network partners have been provided $103,050 by the Federal Government to locally deliver the Be Connected program in Hinkler between 2017 to 2021.

For more information about the program visit beconnected.esafety.gov.au or call the Be Connected Helpline 1300 795 897.

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