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Indigenous Digital Excellence is everywhere, you just have to look


Posted on October 4, 2017

4 min read

There’s no denying technological and digital innovations have transformed the global economy and the way people live their lives in communities across Australia.

But what happens when digital technology is embraced by the world’s oldest living culture?

On Friday night over 300 people gathered on Gadigal land at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Sydney for the inaugural National Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Awards.

The first of their kind in Australia, the awards shine a light on the intersection of digital technology and the world’s oldest living culture, and showcase the digital excellence and innovation that is happening right now, across our nation.

From robotics, 3D printing, using drones to capture imagery of country, to coding and developing apps to preserve language and culture for future generations, IDX is happening everywhere. It’s just a matter of looking for it.

The centerpiece of the IDX Initiative, the partnership between the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and Telstra Foundation, the awards celebrate some of our brightest minds and forward-thinking entrepreneurs. The Telstra Foundation hosted several tables at the event and we were joined by luminaries from Indigenous culture, the media and the arts as we celebrated Indigenous innovation and ingenuity.

Under big lights and on the black carpet, 14 finalists from across Australia were recognised for their work in the innovation space, and Indigenous app developers, digital designers, entrepreneurs, online educators and virtual reality artists were selected as winners across seven award categories.

Let me introduce you to the 2017 National IDX Award winners.

Learnings and Education Award recipient Wayne Denning is a Birra Gubba man from Blackwater, Central Queensland and the owner and managing director of Carbon Media. Wayne conceived the STEM.I.AM program, designed to promote the study of STEM with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth around Australia.

Culture and Country Award recipient Victor Steffenson is based in North Queensland and the creator of the Living Knowledge Place, a community driven education site. Developed in collaboration with Elders from across Australia, the site addresses the need to make traditional and cultural knowledge practices accessible to the next generation by using modern technology.

Head to the centre of Australia where NT, SA and WA intersect and you will meet the women that form the NPY Women’s Council, and recipients of the Wellbeing Award. The women have developed a customisable language dictionary app that enables communication by providing words in Pitjatjantjara and Ngaanyatjarra and English translations to create a shared understanding of the language used to talk about feelings to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their people.

In Darwin, Young Innovator of the Year Brooke Ottley works as a digital designer. A Gunggari, Wuthathi and Torres Strait Islander woman, Brooke is a talented graphic designer who after almost 10 years’ in her field and a study tour in New York, has become Darwin’s most popular Airbnb host, hosting over 380 travellers in her own home.

Keep heading North, off the coast of Arnhem Land, NT and you will reach Galiwinku, Elcho Island and the home of Digital Elder of the Year Ernest Gondarra. Ernest learnt how to use a computer for the first time only in the last few years through the Arnhem Land Progress Association’s (ALPA) Plastic Fantastic program. Plastic Fantastic is an innovative recycling program that allows Elders and young people to learn skills in technology, while sharing the importance of caring for country. Ernest has used his new found skills in design and 3D printing, to create culturally significant objects for the Gatjirrk Cultural Festival.

In Sydney, Luke Briscoe, a proud Kuku-Yalanji man from Far North Queensland is the recipient of the Pathways and Employment Award. Luke founded the Indigenous owned and operated business INDIGI LAB to create innovative projects for social and environmental change through digital culture. Luke’s goal is to establish national Indigenous ethical guidelines in science and digital technology to support a better understanding, value and respect for Indigenous knowledge in these fields.

Finally head to Queensland’s capital and meet Dean Foley, this year’s recipient of the Entrepreneurship Award. A young Kamilaroi man from Brisbane, Dean is the founder of Australia’s first Indigenous Start-up Weekend and Bayaramal, Australia’s first Indigenous run accelerator for Indigenous businesses. The start-up event and incubator offer a platform for Indigenous entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and skills, to learn and develop businesses that benefit them and their community.

The Telstra Foundation has committed $5 million over five years to the national IDX initiative, a partnership with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. This initiative supports Indigenous participation in the digital landscape and assists young Indigenous people to build careers in STEM – science, technology, engineering, maths – and arts.

Remarkable startups: How Huy’s changing the game


Posted on August 22, 2017

4 min read

There’s a reason why the Remarkable Accelerator has such a bold name. In part it’s the Remarkable ideas behind each of the inclusive startups who are part of the program. But mostly it’s because of the Remarkable people involved. We want to share their Remarkable Stories. Here’s Huy’s story.

Two things changed Huy Nguyen’s fate in the earliest years of his life. Born in Vietnam, at 18-months-old Huy contracted polio. It invaded his nervous system causing irreversible paralysis to his legs. This was only part of the catalyst for the second significant change just three years later, when the Nguyen family made the 12,000km journey to Australia to start a new life.

Today, the 32-year-old humanitarian engineer and technology entrepreneur, often reflects on what could have been his ‘alternate life’. As a person with a physical disability he is acutely aware that had his family stayed in Vietnam, he would not have had the same opportunities afforded to him in Australia.

It’s perhaps for this reason meeting a young man in East Timor six years ago had such an impact.

Huy travelled to Timor in 2011 to work with the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) agencies, focusing on the needs of people with disabilities. It’s a trip he describes with one word: enlightening. In Timor even the topic of disability is taboo – to have a disability is seen to be living with a curse. That’s the environment Joel, a bright young East Timorese man who lost the use of his legs in a car accident, lived in.

“Joel is just like me, but because of where he lives, he has no opportunity for employment or even for education – and a different level of care and support available,” Huy explains. “While I was there I started to think about the power of technology and how we could use it to amplify education and training surrounding disabilities.”

And the idea of Enabler was born.

Huy explains that Enabler is a new way to train disability support workers. Instead of broad-ranging, theory-based courses and death-by-PowerPoint, Enabler uses a mobile 3D platform to put learners into real-life situations.

“It’s scenario-based and immersive training – putting people into real life simulated environments. By using 3D animated scenarios, support workers are able to practice real-life and emergency scenarios,” Huy explains.

And it can be accessed anywhere, any time – creating easy-to-access, bespoke training for people in regional and remote areas. What’s more, there’s a desperate need for Enabler.

“Did you know that Australia needs to double the amount of well trained disability support and aged care workers by 2020?” Huy says. “That’s 600,000 we need to train. Enabler is going to help achieve that.”

Angela Li is Huy’s partner in life and co-founder of Enabler; she is also his carer. The pair met at university and have never looked back. Angela’s understanding of the role of a carer, and the physical impacts of Huy’s polio, bring the depth of knowledge that only the lived experience can bring.

“Enabler was born out of my personal need,” Huy says. “But this is not just about me. It’s about the one in five Australians who have a disability, it’s about our fast-aging population. These people need disability support services to be able to fully participate in society.”

And through the Remarkable Accelerator its training they will be delivered sooner than they had hoped. Huy and Angela were one of eight businesses to be part of this year’s 16-week Remarkable program – an accelerator for early stage startups using technology to change the lives of people with disabilities. A partnership between the Telstra Foundation and Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Remarkable is Australia’s first inclusive startup accelerator and provides funding, masterclasses and world-class mentoring through a 16-week program.

“To me, Remarkable is about starting an important cultural shift in business innovation,” Huy says.  “For too long the disability movement has been seen as a charity and hand-out cause. It’s anything but that. Remarkable is about showing the value that accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities brings to our community – both socially and economically. We’re thrilled to have been part of this Remarkable program and growing our business with like-minded startups who are on the same journey.”

Find out more about Enabler here.

Our approach

Sustainability at Telstra

Posted on July 31, 2017

1 min read

Our sustainability strategy

Our purpose is to create a brilliant connected future for everyone, and our sustainability strategy is key to achieving this.

The core elements of the strategy and strategic focus areas reflect the issues that are most material for our business, the areas in which we have the expertise to make a meaningful impact, and where we see opportunities to use innovative, tech-based solutions to help address major societal challenges and opportunities.


What we do

Sustainability at Telstra

Posted on July 31, 2017

1 min read

Telstra is Australia’s leading telecommunications and technology company with a growing international presence.

Through our extensive network, we offer a broad suite of connectivity, media and content to customers in Australia, as well as connectivity and enterprise services globally. We have a diverse range of customers including consumers, small business, large enterprises and government organisations. We curate innovative technologies and capabilities from around the world to deliver exceptional experiences for all our customers.

Our core strength is in our leading network and connectivity, and we are utilising this to secure new opportunities in international markets and in emerging areas like eHealth, software and digital media.

We strive to provide exceptional customer experiences, forming strategic partnerships around the world to create and deliver innovative technology, capability and talent.

Our customers

Sustainability at Telstra

Posted on July 31, 2017

2 min read

Our customers want to be able to access the best products and services and expect them to work where they want, when they want, in the way they want. We have made progress, but we have more work to do in order to achieve our purpose of creating a brilliant connected future for everyone.

Our strategy is designed to deliver this for our customers, with effortless digital experiences and services that offer the most value and enjoyment and work without fail. We are developing a range of initiatives that will deliver seamless, simple and integrated customer interactions. Continued investment in the digitisation of our business will also improve the way our customers deal with us.

Progress in FY17

  • In August last year we announced up to $3 billion of additional capital investment over three years into programs to build networks for the future, to digitise our business and to fundamentally overhaul the experience our customers have with us.
  • This year we switched on our one millionth Telstra Air® hotspot, giving mobile and eligible broadband customers even more places to enjoy free and unlimited data on Australia’s largest Wi-Fi network.
  • We introduced Go Mobile Swap lease plans allowing customers to upgrade their handset after 12 months for $99, provided they return their working device and sign up to a new 24 month handset and service plan.
  • We introduced the Telstra Gateway Frontier™, an all-in-one hybrid modem, designed to get customers connected in minutes via our mobile network using their home broadband data while we complete a fixed network installation or migration to the nbn network.
  • We’ve consolidated the Telstra 24×7 App for iPhone and the app for iPad to a single app that will work on both devices, doubling the features available for the app on iPad.
  • We have streamlined services for customers when they are moving home. We have simplified the number of connection fees and are providing more clarity about when a premise will be connected and the internet speeds and mobile coverage quality at the customer’s new address.

Find out more

Read Deliver brilliant customer experiences in our Telstra 2017 Annual Report