Data61’s Lifelong Participation Initiative represents a response to the combined forces of demographic and digital disruption.

In Australia, improved life expectancy has meant that many older citizens can look forward to a longer retirement. With this welcome trend comes new challenges, such as increased demand for health and aged care services with fewer people working to provide a tax base to fund these services. Digital disruption could exacerbate these challenges since the automation of work is likely to push some less digitally literate older workers into early retirement.  Australia’s ability to flourish into the future will derive from the way in which we harness technology to overcome our challenges and create new opportunities.

A collaborative effort will be needed to ensure that vulnerable groups (such as older Australians and mature workers) are motivated and empowered to remain connected and productive in a fast changing world where the ability to work with and through technology is rapidly becoming a prerequisite for participation.

Here at Data61 we hope to begin a national conversation about the opportunities (and the risks) for lifelong participation in a digitally-enabled society and inspire a joined up approach to achieving social change.