The Northern Territory’s last place ranking for digital readiness is an unfortunate reflection of the social issues that have afflicted Australia’s least populated territory. Its poor ranking for basic needs is driven by factors such as NT citizens having a life expectancy of just 77 years old – which is five years less than that of the national average – coupled with the highest rates of mortality under one year and homelessness.
A bright spark for the NT however, can be found in its human capital score, where it ranks third nationally. This is in part due to it having a population with a median age of 31.8, six years younger than the national average. While this young population provides a strong potential digital workforce, significant investment is required in developing appropriate skills, with the NT having the lowest scores in terms of mathematics proficiency.
Unlike Tasmania, the NT did not report a strong result for business and government expenditure on research and development. Again, signs of a turnaround exist in the form of the creation of the Darwin Innovation Hub, which is a partnership between Charles Darwin University, the Northern Territory Government and the NT based investment company Paspalis. It is designed to support a pipeline of technology start-ups in the NT. This initiative has been specifically designed with a focus on building connections into innovation hubs throughout Asia, capitalising on the NT’s north facing frnotier and providing a point of difference compared to other states.
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