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Australia lowers its digital readiness ranking to 16th place


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Cisco Digital Readiness Index 2022 ranked Australia 16th out of 146 countries

According to the Cisco Australia Digital Readiness Index 2022, there is still a digital divide in Australia and the benefits of digitization are not fairly distributed.

The Digital Readiness Index is a global study conducted by Cisco that measures the ability to capture the opportunities that digital skills and investments create in a country, state, or territory, and is directly related to other measures of a country’s performance.

The Index is a holistic approach to measure across seven components:

  • Basic needs.
  • Human capital
  • Business and Government Investments.
  • The ease of doing business.
  • Start-up environment.
  • technology infrastructure
  • Technology adoption.

Cisco Australia and New Zealand vice president Ben Dawson says Australia remains among the top-ranked digitally-ready nations, but it cannot afford to sit still.

Dawson is responsible for providing market leadership through the innovative use and application of Cisco technologies and services, while helping customers and partners accelerate their digital agility.

“Maintaining existing investment levels puts us at risk of falling behind other countries and widening the national digital divide.”

“As digitization continues to accelerate, the report highlights the continued need for Australia to focus and invest in all components of digital readiness to seize the opportunities of a resilient, sustainable and equitable society.

“While it is always difficult to predict the future, one forecast that can be made with certainty is that the digital skills and infrastructure that Australia requires today will be insufficient for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.” Dawson says.

Digital Readiness Scores: Australia Digitally Divided

Digital readiness scores in each state and territory reveal close groupings across many components, with one significant outlier.

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory maintained its position as Australia’s most digitally ready state or territory due to its 1st place ranking for Business and Government Investment and Human Capital.

New south Wales

New South Wales made significant gains in the nation’s capital thanks to scores in Basic Needs and Startup Environment, the latter reflecting governments’ commitment to growing their start-up ecosystem.


Thanks to a 10% increase in broadband services in operation and the same higher percentage of businesses with staff working from home, Victoria remained in third place and now leads the nation in technology adoption.

south australian

South Australia moved up three places to fourth as its Ease of Doing Business score moved up to first nationally, while its Technology Adoption score rose from seventh to fourth.

western australia

Western Australia’s ranking fell from fourth to fifth, mainly thanks to a decline in business and government investment scores.


Queensland’s rise from fifth to third place in human capital was enough to keep the state in sixth position, thanks to a labor force participation rate rising 4.4 percentage points.


The state’s ranking dropped from 5 to 7, primarily due to a drop in its Ease of Doing Business score. Despite having the highest business survival rate in the country, business confidence plummeted, dragging down the score.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory was ranked as the lowest category (Amplify Low), reflecting the recognized social and economic challenges in the region and illustrating the growing national digital divide.

Unlike its neighbor across the Tasman Sea, Australia now sits far behind in digital readiness, with New Zealand in eighth place in the 2022 version.

Australia’s digital readiness opportunity

Dawson says the Digital Readiness Index highlights the need for continued accelerated investment and the report reveals that simply maintaining investment levels can still cause a nation, state or territory to outperform its peers.

“Digital readiness helps us understand how different nations, states and territories are performing and measure their progress toward creating a more digitally inclusive and prosperous society,” Dawson said.

Due to the pandemic, Australia’s decline has been attributed to a drop in student and skilled migration and emphasizes the importance of being digitally prepared and staying engaged with the global community.

New South Wales was ranked second in the 2019 version of the report, released in 2020, while the ACT remained at the top.

Comprehensive Global Digital Readiness Index 2022: Top 10 Countries List:

  1. Singapore
  2. luxembourg
  3. Iceland
  4. United States of America
  5. Sweden
  6. Denmark
  7. South Korea
  8. New Zealand
  9. Swiss
  10. United Kingdom

“It would be wrong to attribute Australia’s drop in the rankings to the pandemic alone, given that all nations were affected by the same event.”

“The bigger question now is whether Australia can recover and improve its ranking and that will depend on how it invests in digital readiness to build national prosperity.”

“Australia cannot afford to sit still as even maintaining existing investment levels risks us falling behind countries that see the benefits of increasing their investment levels.” says dawson

According to Dawson, the rankings illustrate that a country that simply maintains its investment in digital readiness may find itself falling behind on the world stage.

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