Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Broadband for Seniors – Doorstop, Melbourne

*** E & OE – Proof only ***

JOURNALIST: Minister, how many of these internet kiosks are we looking at around the country?

JENNY MACKLIN: There’s going to be around 2,000 of these internet kiosks around Australia. About 42 have already been set up in different parts of the country, some in country towns, some in our suburbs, already up and running and are providing a wonderful service to older Australians so that they can get online and keep connected.

JOURNALIST: How important is it to I guess use this resource for them?

JENNY MACKLIN: This is a great way for older Australians to keep connected, keep connected with their families and friends who might have moved interstate. For many, many older people that I’ve spoken to who are already online, it’s a wonderful way for them to keep their interests. Whether it’s in genealogy, many older Australians are keen to look back and understand where their families come from; whether it’s to belong to clubs online. The whole range of different ways that older Australians are already very active with computers, this is going to make it easier for them.

JOURNALIST: How do you think that this will help where as previous ways haven’t before? Why do you think that this is a better way of reaching out to older Australians?

JENNY MACKLIN: This is just another way to make sure that we keep older Australians active and connected with their communities. It’s a way of bringing them into their senior citizens’ clubs or their local community clubs. We know that for many younger Australians, this is just the ordinary way of communicating. Being online, sending emails, and now being able to do that to grandma and grandpa is another way that I think families are going to be able to keep connected.

JOURNALIST: How hard is it going to be for some of these older Australians who may never have even turned on a computer?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think as Mrs Rush has shown us here today anyone can learn. It doesn’t matter how old you are. She’s, I hope she doesn’t mind, over 100, and she’s here today at Legacy to show that she’s ready to learn.

JOURNALIST: Do you think that a lot of older people get a bit lost, you know, it’s all a bit over their heads when they hear their grandkids talking about this stuff?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I know that when I talk to older Australians many of them are really keen to learn, and we’re already seeing with the setting up of these kiosks many people who haven’t previously gone on to a computer, like Mrs Rush, are keen to do so.

JOURNALIST: Do you think there’s anything left to learn at the age of 103?

JENNY MACKLIN: There’s always plenty to learn. It doesn’t matter how old you are, there’s always something new to learn and the wonderful thing about being online is that this makes it easier.

JOURNALIST: And what about the training? Because obviously a lot of older Australians might feel a bit tentative about these sorts of things if they don’t feel that they’ve got enough support, that it might all become a bit too confusing for them?

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s what is good about NEC joining up with University of the Third Age online, so there’s different organisations that older people already belong to, feel comfortable with. We’re setting them up in clubs like Senior Citizens’ Clubs where people feel relaxed and comfortable. They’re going to learn from each other as well. There’s older Australians who are already good at the computer and I think that will make people feel more relaxed.