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Australians unaware of govt's digital services

Nearly a quarter of Australians are unaware of the government's digital services, according to new research from Accenture. 

The multi-country survey, which queried over 5,000 citizens across Australia, Germany, Singapore, the UK and the US, found Australian citizens are yet to take advantage of the government’s digital services – with almost a quarter (23%) having never accessed, or knowing how to use the digital services.

The research also revealed the majority (56%) are satisfied with their experiences.

The survey’s goal was to determine current levels of citizen engagement with digital government services, the state of such offerings and citizen support for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other innovative technologies to deliver government services.

The survey revealed that while Australians have an appetite for digital services, there’s concern for transparency around how they will be used to benefit their lives. 

Just 44% of Australian citizens said they would increase their use of government digital services if AI was used to offer more efficient services, while two-thirds (69%) identified the ease of interaction as being most important when accessing government services online. 

However, more than half (54%) said their trust in government would increase if the government better communicated how the technology innovations they were deploying would improve the lives of citizens.

Significantly, the survey found that even though Australian citizens are increasingly accessing more user-friendly AI-driven solutions in their daily lives, they do not expect the same type of innovations to be used in digital government services. Almost half (49%) of respondents said they would increase their use of digital government services if they could access multiple government services from an online portal.

“Today, digitisation alone may not be enough to create a holistic and streamlined digital government service. New tools that leverage AI and other innovative technologies have potential to future-proof the provision of online services in Australia," says Catherine Garner, Accenture Australia’s health & public service industry lead.

“By informing citizens of the potential that innovative technology has for creating efficiencies across digital services, governments can build citizen trust and increase the receptivity to and uptake of current and future digital services in Australia,” she says.

The research did indicate Australia’s strong foundation of digital government services, with a third (33%) of Australians currently using multiple digital services, several times a year. This is compared with international markets such as the UK and the US with just 22% and 18% of people using these digital services across the year respectively.

“Australia has an incredibly opportunity to create a world-leading public service through digital and innovative technologies,” says Garner. “These transformational tools can be used to radically streamline and improve the delivery of personalised government services that can truly enhance the lives of all Australians.”

Country comparisons:

  • 33 percent of Australians use multiple government digital services several times each year as opposed to 22 percent in the UK and only 18 percent in the US.
  • 53 percent of Australians would increase government service use if offered a single portal to access multiple services. This contrasts with only 39 percent of respondents from the US.
  • Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of survey respondents from Australia do not use or do not know about any government digital services. This contrasts with just 8 percent of respondents from Singapore.
  • The majority (57 percent) of respondents from Singapore believe the government should make greater use of innovative AI technologies. Just 34 percent of Australian respondents hold the same view.
  • Over two-thirds (70 percent) of respondents from Singapore said they would increase their use of government digital services if their government used AI to deliver the services online around-the-clock. Less than half (49 percent) of Australians feel the same.
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