How can we leverage digital technologies to share knowledge and bridge the gap towards reconciliation for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians?

April attended the 2018 OECD Forum in Paris. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at Central Queensland University and she is a is a proud Noonuccal woman of the Quandamooka nation from North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah). ​​​​​​​


Digital technologies have provided individuals, communities and countries with opportunities to enhance their thinking, way of living and interactions with those around them. As the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (2018) highlights, ‘Digital transformation can contribute to reducing inequality and achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. Using this as a foundation, the following paper seeks to develop recommendations for how we can share and learn the Indigenous ways of knowing, doing and learning, through leveraging digital technologies to work towards reconciliation for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians. Digital technology can be the conduit towards greater preservation, inclusiveness and respect for Indigenous cultures. The focus of the recommendations will be the development of an educational app as a tool to preserve Indigenous Australian languages, share cultural history and knowledge, and provide learnings about the ongoing sustainability of our land. Paired with a focus on stronger partnerships between Indigenous communities and government, and improved access to digital technology and infrastructure, this paper identifies a real opportunity to break down barriers and build reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians.

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Public Mistrust in the Digitalisation of Health Records

Judith attended the 2018 OECD Forum in Paris. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Business at the Queensland University of Technology and works part time as a Law Clerk.


The digital economy contributes to the global economic growth and advances human wellbeing. Alongside these benefits, however, come increasing risks that impact vulnerable environments across both the public and private sector. These risks include security threats, theft, and illegal activity, but potentially the most concerning is the risk of an increased lack of trust in governments and institutions. How can the Australian government address this risk and instead utilise digital transformation to regenerate trust in its systems, in particular in e-healthcare?

This paper outlines how the Australian government can re-evaluate their current digital strategies and policies to bolster consumer trust towards Electronic Medical Records (EMR), in an age of digital security risk.  After reviewing existing practices and policy, this paper will provide recommendations to increase engagement between the Australian Government and patients, in order to achieve a fully digitalised and integrated electronic Medical Records (‘ieMR’). Additionally, this paper will explore how the Australian government can employ digital initiatives to cultivate a level of trust within EMR to help facilitate its advancement.

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Fostering inclusive growth through the Job Guarantee

Sean attended the 2018 OECD Forum in Paris. He is currently studying Undergraduate Studies in International Studies and Japanese at Curtin University.


A key issue raised at the 2018 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2018) forum was the need for nations to design solutions for inclusive growth “through studies and data surrounding better education, employment, healthcare and housing, making sure that growth is truly inclusive” (OECD, 2018). The inclusive growth program at the OECD has analysed the myriad sources for global inequality and has determined that, while acknowledging there is much room for future research, solutions lay with national governments (OECD, 2017, p. 5). The ‘Bridging the Gap’ publication argues for a re-orientation of welfare toward lifelong platforms that ensure a variety of outcomes for citizens, including job support, health, wellbeing, and foundations for future learning (OECD, 2017, p. 5).

A national Job Guarantee program is a comprehensive and universal replacement for welfare that is funded and directed by national governments. The foundation of a Job Guarantee program is guaranteed work for a guaranteed annual income set by the government. The Job Guarantee is a radical and necessary re-orientation of welfare addressing key issues outlined by the OECD. Only the government is in the position to address this and, as such, this policy paper seeks to explore the Job Guarantee program as a key policy recommendation to achieve inclusive growth.

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‘Funding Social Enterprises in Australia and narrowing the knowledge gap - Improving Social Impact Measurement and Social Impact Bonds’

Zoe attended the 2018 OECD Forum in Paris. She is currently studying a Bachelor of International and Global Studies at the University of Sydney Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and in the near future will be working in Indonesia with the Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction Program.


In order to foster prosperity and fight poverty through economic growth and financial stability, communities need to have confidence in markets and institutions. It is imperative to stress that this growth must be both sustainable and inclusive in order to recreate this sense of security. A relatively new and innovative solution are social enterprises. These are organisations that run like a business, although they have goals and values equal to those of a charity. Social enterprises generate creative solutions to complex social issues, and are, more often than not, driven by the local community. Community-driven change is imperative, and by empowering individuals and local communities to take initiative to create businesses it will lead to greater social reform and recreate confidence in the market.

Although they are a relatively new concept in Australia, the community is rapidly expanding. With this expected growth comes an increase in opportunity for the Australian government to utilize this innovation to achieve the most effective and sustainable social outcomes. Social impact bonds are also growing in popularity around the world, especially in countries where much of welfare is privatised for example the UK and US. There is an increasing body of research that is investigating effective ways of measuring social impact, however, they are not necessarily communicating with enterprises who need effective measurement strategies. Additionally, social impact bonds provide a way for the government to invest in solutions that have proven the intended social outcome. However, for these bonds to be the most effective there needs to be a thorough understanding of the appropriate uses of social impact measurement. 

To productively shape the future for social enterprises in Australia, this paper provides two specific policy recommendations. Firstly, to utilise the wealth of knowledge on social enterprises in Europe by connecting with them through a conference. This conference should focus on social impact measurement and should connect academics, government, and social entrepreneurs. And secondly, to expand the current piolet programs for social impact bonds to create more sustainable funding methods for social enterprises. In addition, with social impact bonds, the government is only paying for programs which have proven results. 

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"Integrating Small to Medium Businesses (SMB) into the digital economy"

Jack attended the 2018 OECD Forum in Paris. Jack is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne Faculty of Business and Economics and is also an Outgoing Exchange Manager for AIESEC Melbourne. 


Small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) are fundamental components of the Australian economy and inextricably linked to middle-class welfare. With over 2.1 million SMB in Australia, they constitute two-thirds of the economy’s jobs and over half of private sector economic activity (Deloitte, 2017). With the rise of globalisation and the rapid growth of technology in the last two decades, the transition to a digital economy poses both risks and opportunities for SMB. Research has found that 87% of Australian SMB are not taking full advantage of the digital tools available to them, especially in regional areas. Given that SMB adoption of these digital tools can add $49.2 billion in untapped economic potential over the next 10 years (NPV), SMB adoption rates not only impact future economic growth and living standards but, on a broader level, impacts Australia’s capacity to compete on an international level (PWC, 2018). 

As such, the Australian Government has a clear prerogative to assist SMB. Although the reasons why digital technology is underutilised by SMB vary by geography, industry and characteristics of owners, recent reports have highlighted reoccurring themes of: a lack of education and training; limited financing opportunities; and a decentralised and disjointed support system, as key factors hindering their adoption of new technologies (Deloitte, 2017). With the rapid pace of digital technology making it difficult for SMB to stay on top of best practices, this report recommends that the Australian government establish a website and toolbox that can provide businesses with easy to understand information. Paired with a comprehensive marketing campaign, this website would assist in communicating the benefits of digitalisation whilst developing SMB digital capabilities. With the rollout of the NBN and other digital infrastructure projects taking place in remote areas of Australia, coupling this with streamlined training and information will assist in overcoming the divide between regional and urban SMB. Additionally, this report recommends developing a small business network to support the promotion of community digitalisation.

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