Did you know that 20% of Tasmanians are still is without internet Access? Yes 20%! So what do they do if they don’t have a computer or internet in their home? Many people go to Online Access Centers and there are some pretty special people running these centers and their funding is currently under threat.
This 20% statistic surprised me when I first read it and then when I ventured out to many of the Online Access Centers I met many groups of passionate, articulate, helpful and caring coordinators and volunteers.
There was once about 60 centers throughout the state and starting in the late 90’s when the internet started, but even though its 2018 many people do NOT having NBN in their towns, some have black spots in their homes or they simply can’t afford to pay for internet or a computer in many low population and highly disadvantaged areas.
Communities value the contribution that staff and volunteers give to these centers. Many of the coordinators only get paid for 12 hours and volunteer countless extra hours each week to keep the doors open and with their future funding in question and there is a real possibility that these valuable centers will close next year.
So what can you do as a unionist? Please jump onto Facebook and search Love your Tasmanian online access centers and like their page, share and let them know that a lot of people from ALL over Tasmania support and want the access centers to remain. Write a letter to the editor, Call up your local radio station and most importantly- go and visit a center and find out more about what they do.
Through my visits to many of the centers around the state, it’s clear that there are so many stories of strong communities looking out for each other, kids games nights, book swaps, computer courses, safe places of “not so tech savvy” people to go and visit, practice their computer skills and also engage with other community members and we know how important it is for everyone in the community to have a place to learn, explore and engage.
Please take a few minutes to jump onto their website, give them some positive feedback and contact your local MP about why you believe these centers should remain open.