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Tag: diversity-and-inclusion

Working to make society more digitally included


Posted on September 17, 2019

3 min read

It is amazing to think of the technological and digital advancements that continue to be made.

About 10 years ago, many of the things we do on a daily basis did not exist. From ordering a taxi through an app, searching and booking accommodation in real-time, streaming music and video, and sharing our photos online with family and friends.

However, for many in our community, these technological and digital advancements can remain out-of-reach whether it is due to a lack of access, affordability or digital ability.

The 2019 Australian Digital Inclusion Index*, released today, is the most comprehensive picture of our online participation through these three measures.

Last week I spoke at ACCAN’s National Conference about the challenges their members face in navigating, accessing and paying for the services we can take for granted.

The themes discussed at the ACCAN event and what the 2019 Australian Digital Inclusion Index found are familiar. That is in the four years since we started measuring digital inclusion in Australia, affordability remains the one measure where significant improvements have not been made.

Although the nbn is assisting in improving access, the affordability gap between high and low-income households is at the same level as it was in 2014. Improvements to affordability are unlikely in the absence of a lower cost wholesale nbn broadband product.

Among other key findings of the 2019 Index:

  • In general, Australians with low levels of income, education, and employment are significantly less digitally included. There is consequently a substantial digital divide between richer and poorer Australians.
  • The gap between the most digitally included age group (people aged 25-34 years) and the least digitally included age group (people aged 65+) narrowed for the first time since 2014.
  • While the cost of internet data has gone down, households are now spending more money on internet services to account for higher usage. Expenditure on these services has increased faster than increases in household income.
  • Affordability is a particular challenge for Australians on low or fixed incomes because they have less discretionary income to spend.

Earlier this year we launched our new purpose:

The word ‘everyone’ speaks to our responsibility to make sure the benefits of today’s modern telecommunications environment are there for everyone.

We will use the findings of the Digital Inclusion Index to continue to help inform our policy positions, community programs and business efforts to boost digital inclusion in this country. And we encourage others to use this report in a similar way so we work together to reduce the gap.

More and more, technology and connectivity are essential for being a contributing member of society. It is sobering to think that there are still many of our community who are missing out on the vital benefits they need because they cannot connect.

As Australia’s oldest and largest telecommunications company we have a responsibility to ensure that access, affordability and digital ability improves.

You can download the 2019 Australia Digital Inclusion Index here.

*RMIT University’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre and the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University develop and produce the Index in partnership with Telstra and Roy Morgan.

All dads flex: celebrating inclusion and flexibility this Father’s Day


Posted on August 30, 2019

5 min read

Creating an inclusive culture where everyone can thrive, personally and professionally, is a priority for us at Telstra. We’ve listened to our people and put policies in place to support their priorities. In celebration of Father’s Day, some of our Telstra dads have shared how this is paying off for them and their families.

It’s important for us that all of our people can bring their wholes selves to work and feel empowered to balance their work and life in a way that works for them and our business. So we’ve focused a lot on flexibility and fairness – for everyone.

For example, our All Roles Flex approach to work gives our people flexibility and choice in where, how and when they perform their roles. This may mean working outside normal business hours or from different locations, job sharing, or even having the ability to express a preference for certain scheduled shifts. This kind of flexibility is enabled by the technology and tools our people need to connect with their teams and customers anywhere, any time.

Beyond flexible working, we’ve also recently changed our parental leave policy to make it fairer and more flexible for all. We did this by removing the distinction between primary and secondary carers and providing more flexibility in how the leave can be taken.

We recently asked some of the dads at Telstra for their experiences of working flexibly, and we wanted to share their stories.

Happy Father’s Day to all for this Sunday.

We hope you are showered with socks, jocks, chocolates and love!

Tim McMahon – Technical Expert, Clayton

It has been 4 weeks since Evelyn was born. 😍 Time flies!

Back to work on Monday. I’ll take the remaining 12 weeks paid leave later on. 😊

The parental leave policy was a wonderful surprise for my wife, Yuanyuan, and I. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster from the time the midwife, Cassie, handed Evelyn to me while she focused on keeping my wife awake after having lost so much blood.

By taking the first four weeks off, this policy has helped my wife recover and allowed me to spend more time with our family at home. I plan on taking the remainder of the leave over the summer holidays and again when my wife would like to re-enter the workforce as a Software Developer.

The culture and support at Telstra has made me proud to work here.

Wayan Hadi – Multi-Domain Sales Specialist, Melbourne

As most families with newborns will appreciate, finding a balance between being productive at work and enjoying meaningful time with your child can be very challenging. For me, it often meant rushing home for our nighttime routine which would see me spend perhaps 45-minutes per day with my son.

The recent Parental Leave policy change has allowed me to spend real, quality time with Emerson and enjoy some of those “first” moments I otherwise would’ve missed. It’s also given us the freedom to visit immediate family living overseas who haven’t yet been able to meet Emerson (something that would have been previously hard to navigate).

The memories we’re creating as a family unit are immeasurable and I’m so pleased that other families will have the opportunity to do the same.

Cameron Young – Product Marketing Senior Specialist, Melbourne

Working flexibly isn’t something you truly value until it becomes available to you.

As a new dad, I’ve taken full advantage of Telstra’s flexible working policy. I’m able to support my family with time at home; both planned and short-notice, without missing a beat or lowering my productivity. I’ve fully embraced the tools and structures that allow us to work flexibly, and I’m proud to be part of an organisation that has availed this style of working.

I feel supported in my role as a new parent and can manage my time appropriately; not just after hours or weekends. I feel confident that I have the tools and structures required to stay connected and productive. As an employee, the benefits aren’t exclusive to working from home. I can seamlessly co-locate with stakeholders both inter-floor, inter-office and even internationally. I can maintain productivity while on the move, in the car, at home, in an airport, with minimal disruption. I’m able to take full advantage of all the hours in the day.

Robert Milanovic – Technical Solutions Support Tester, Townsville

I’m about to take the first set of parental leave (out of four) to be with my son Hamish. He’s our firstborn and now five months old so he’s at the stage where it seems like he’s developing new skills and personality in front of my eyes – just being around him brings me such joy. 

He already has an action-packed schedule with swimming lessons, group rhythm time and hangouts with his new baby friends and their parents. Being part of that journey is so amazing and the new parental leave policy update will help me be there.

Here’s an older photo of us (he’s 3ish months here) but it’s probably my favourite.

Adam Flegg – Product Specialist, Melbourne

Adam Flegg – Product Specialist, Melbourne

All Roles Flex has meant a lot to my family. I am married with two boys aged 10 and 7. My 10-year-old Jack has Autism Spectrum Disorder and my wife works in retail, meaning her hours change constantly.

Having the ability to work from home allows me to take my boys to and from school, removing the need for before or after school care – something Jack struggles with immensely.

It also allows me to be there for exciting things at school, like swimming!

Why we support Wear It Purple


Posted on August 30, 2019

4 min read

In support of Wear It Purple Day on 30 August, our Diversity and Inclusion Principal Kylie Fuller chats to Wear It Purple President and Director, Ross Wetherbee.

Our purpose is to build a connected future so everyone can thrive. We can only achieve that by having an inclusive culture where every employee can bring their whole self to work.

Our commitment to inclusion is championed by our Spectrum network, which creates opportunities for our LGBTI+ employees and allies to connect, both inside and outside Telstra. We’re a founding member of Pride in Diversity, an employer support program dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of LGBTI+ people. We also show our support by taking part in events such as Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival, Pink Dot in Hong Kong and Singapore, IDAHOBIT Day and Wear It Purple Day. 

Wear It Purple Day panel - Telstra

We’re a proud partner of Wear It Purple and their work to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people. Ahead of Wear It Purple Day this year, I chatted to President and Director of Wear It Purple, Ross Wetherbee, about his experience growing up and the importance of support networks and visible role models.

Wear It Purple Day panel - Telstra

Kylie Fuller: What was it like for you growing up in regional NSW?

Ross Wetherbee: I felt lonely, fearful and anxious about the future during my adolescent years. I was not ‘out’ about my sexuality until I moved away from home to attended university; in high school, I quickly realised through the behaviours of my peers that being gay was not seen as a positive attribute.

The words ‘fag’, ‘poofter’ and more were commonplace put-downs, and the absence of any affirming signs or signals that it would be okay to be ‘out’ among my classmates relegated me to the ‘closet’.

I thought at that time that I could remain there forever.

KF: Was there anyone in your social circles at that time who you could identify with?

RW: There were no students in my year group who were same-sex attracted, let alone another LGBTI+ identity. At this time, in the late-90s, I had not even considered gender identity or thought of people who were transgender, and there was no visibility of transgender people where I grew up. It scares me to think about what someone who struggled with their gender identity at this time would have been thinking, feeling or experiencing.

KF: Have your family and friends been supportive?

RW: My parents were supportive of me in school and sporting endeavours, but I was not out to them. It’s not anything they did that kept me ‘in the closet’; I just can’t recall any actions or behaviours that encouraged me to leap out of it either. An organisation like Wear It Purple would have had a profound impact on my school and schooling experience.

I knew of kids in other schools who were out and they were bullied relentlessly, and I know of people who have died by suicide as a result of this kind of bullying.

KF: What do you want people to know about Wear It Purple?

RW: Wear It Purple is a youth-led non-profit organisation that strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people.

It was founded in 2010 in response to global stories of real teenagers, real heartache and their very real responses. In 2010, several rainbow young people took their own lives following bullying and harassment resulting from the lack of acceptance of their sexuality or gender identity.

Since 2010, Wear It Purple has developed into an international movement. New generations of rainbow young people continue to be dedicated to promoting the annual expression of support and acceptance to rainbow young people.

We’re unique in that we are an LGBTI+ youth charity that is 100 per cent volunteer-led and run, with not one paid employee. I’m so incredibly proud that we’re associated with Telstra and grateful for the support that Telstra provides, so we can support more and more rainbow young people and their schools every year. 

Join us on Friday 30 August to celebrate Wear It Purple Day, and learn more about Wear It Purple at the Wear It Purple website.

Becoming a more sustainable business every single day

Sustainability Report Sustainability

Posted on August 30, 2019

3 min read

As we transform our business through our T22 strategy, we have not lost sight of the bigger picture – or our responsibility for managing our environmental and social impacts.

Through our Sustainability strategy, we continually look for opportunities to make a difference through responsible business, digital inclusion and environmental solutions. We seek to help our customers and society adapt to technological change and the opportunities it brings.

Our annual sustainability assessment showed us which topics matter more than ever, and that the breadth of issues which our customers, partners and stakeholders expect us to address has never been greater.

Our Bigger Picture report provides a detailed overview of the work we’ve undertaken in the past, and that we commit to undertake in the years ahead across our business, to better enable everyone to thrive in a digital world.

Responsible business

This past year, Australia’s public, consumers and shareholders alike, have publicly reminded large companies of the value they place on being transparent, ethical and accountable. We know how important investing in the sustainable future of our organisation is, not just for the health of our business but for our people as well.

At Telstra, we are committed to our values and behaviours, particularly in this time of significant organisational and societal change. We take seriously our duty to operate our business responsibly and strive to maintain a strong values-based culture. Highlights in FY19 include:

  • Investing over $30 million in employee learning and development
  • Achieving a six-point increase in our Episode Net Promoter Score
  • Mandatory compliance training completed by 98.3% of employees

Digital futures

As digital technologies play an increasingly central role in our lives, there remains a significant gap between those who are connected and those who are not.

In FY19 we focused on consolidating the gains made over recent years to increase digital inclusion and ensure our new suite of products and services enhances this.  Highlights include:

Environmental solutions

We are committed to managing our environmental impacts and helping our customers and communities to do the same. We accept our responsibility to help facilitate low-carbon growth, to minimise our emissions, and to improve community resilience to a changing climate. Highlights in FY18 include:

  • Investing $4.7 million in improving the energy efficiency of our facilities
  • Reducing our carbon emissions intensity (tCO2e/petabyte) by 40% from our FY17 baseline
  • Collecting 2,986 tonnes of e-waste, with a recycling rate of 99.97%

We’re proud of our progress, but we don’t intend to rest on our laurels. We’re committed to being a responsible business by connecting others while strengthening our own sustainability at the same time. I hope you find this year’s report helpful and instructive, and welcome your feedback on our approach and performance.

Bringing stories from the outback to online

Telstra News Entertainment

Posted on August 22, 2019

3 min read

A new podcast from RMIT University is shining a light on how mobile technology and the internet are used in Aboriginal communities and towns by members of the world’s oldest living culture.

As part of our 2018-21 Reconciliation Action Plan commitments to support digital inclusion for remote Indigenous Australians, we funded the Disconnect series with RMIT to tell the story of how the internet is used in Aboriginal communities across the country.

Connectivity is something we take for granted as a central part of modern life, whether it’s in a metropolitan area or a remote community. The way that connectivity is used, though, varies with the cultural and geographic context of its users, and their priorities change as they experience it and over time.

Disconnect is written and hosted by RMIT University’s Ellie Rennie, co-hosted with Tyson Yunkaporta from Deakin University. Available on IndigiTUBE, YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and other podcasting apps, each episode examines a unique aspect of internet use and its impact – good and bad, in Aboriginal communities.

Disconnect co-hosts Ellie Rennie and Tyson Yunkaporta in the studio. Credit: RMIT University.

According to Rennie, “the pace of life changes with internet access, and people need to manage the negative things that come with it, such as internet scams.”

“It’s not so much about how the internet is changing communities, but how communities are changing the internet by placing their own rules and order on it.”

For starters, Yunkaporta explains, the assumption that mobile phones are a personal device does not always apply in Aboriginal communities.

“What does it mean to have a ‘personal’ device in a society built on communal obligations and sharing on demand?” he says.

“Everything is shared in these communities and to go against that by insisting a mobile device is only for your use can be a significant challenge.”

The topics covered in the Disconnect series were all contributed by the communities themselves, and interviews were collected with PY Media in the APY Lands and ARDS in Arnhem Land, as well as with inDigiMOB – the digital mentors program run by First Nations Media Australia and funded by Telstra.

Michael from inDigiMOB interviews Trevor and Jasper on Groote Eylandt for the Disconnect podcast. Credit: Ben Ward.

One topic of particular interest throughout the series is the challenge of providing connectivity to geographically remote and disparate communities, including an invention from the Centre for Appropriate Technology to passively boost mobile phone reception in areas where no powered solution is available or appropriate.

Yunkaporta says that the internet and technology can be a boon to protecting and growing Indigenous culture, amplifying social groups and maintaining close community connections using social media.

“Traditionally our cultures have a dense sociality to them. This is not something that is necessarily negatively affected by technology, it’s actually seen in most quarters as something that enables dense sociality, especially over distance.”

“Despite the transience in our communities, people are able to maintain social groups and communities via social media that would have been impeded by distance before.”

Amethea interviews Michael on Groote Eylandt, in Australia’s Top End, for the Disconnect podcast. Credit: Ben Ward.