Constituency Question / June 9, 2022

Ms MAXWELL (Northern Victoria) (12:38): (1835) My question is to the Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy regarding the Wangaratta Digital Hub, which has run out of state funding and will be forced to close without government support. The hub has submitted a business case to the minister’s office, and I ask: will the government give this important service the funding they need to save them from closure? The Wangaratta Digital Hub was established in 2019 after an Australian Digital Inclusion Index report found that northern Victoria was the lowest ranked rural area for digital inclusion in the state. Their service was keenly appreciated during COVID as people needed help navigating QR codes and vaccination certificates and accessing claims and rebates. The minister visited the digital hub last year so she has seen firsthand the great work they do. Digital service delivery will only continue to grow with the 2020 digital inclusion score for this region, which is substantially below the state average. They are running on saved funds and reduced hours to meet community demand, and their situation is absolutely desperate.