Western Australians expand their use of information technology, Mar 2000

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Western Australians expand their use of information technology

The percentage of households with Internet access in Western Australia increased to 18.8% in 1998-99, up from 11.8% in the first six months of 1998, though still below the Australian figure of 19.2% according to previously unpublished Western Australian figures released in an information bulletin by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

"This bulletin has focused on Western Australian household and business use of information technology and contains a range of unpublished results from a number of our recent IT surveys," said Colin Nagle, Regional Director of the ABS. "The bulletin was produced to help government agencies in WA make informed decisions on the State's use of IT."

According to the bulletin the number of households in Western Australia with a computer increased to 46.3% during the 1998-99 financial year. This is slightly below the Australian figure of 46.5%, but up from 37.6% in the first six months of 1998. The number of households stating that they intend to connect to the Internet over the next 12 months implies that by 1999-2000 over one quarter of Western Australian households will be connected to the Internet.

Other findings in the bulletin include:
    • During the 1997-98 financial year WA business spent $1,534 million on Information Technology and Telecommunications. This was $6,809 per business PC user in WA and represented approximately 7% of the total spending on IT&T throughout Australia.
    • WA and national businesses were similar in terms of Internet access, with 27% of WA employing businesses accessing the Internet in 1997-98 compared to 29% nationally.
    • The number of Western Australian farms with a computer increased to 59% in March 1999, up from 49% in March 1998. This figure was still well below the 67% of Western Australian businesses that used a computer in 1997-98.
    • Farmers in areas outside Perth have more problems affecting their access to the Internet than other businesses and households. A reported 21% of all farms in Western Australia experienced telephone line problems compared to 16% across Australia. This rose to 44% for farms with Internet access.

Copies of the Information Bulletin Western Australia's Use of Information Technology, 1 March 2000 are available from ABS Bookshops, or by phoning 08 9360 5905.