Nearly a quarter of Australians are yet to use a government digital service, and of those that do only a little more than half are satisfied with the experience. The rate, based on a survey by Accenture, is worse than all other countries included in the study: the US, UK, Germany and Singapore .

The survey queried over 5,000 citizens across the five countries to determine current levels of citizen engagement with digital government services, the state of such offerings and citizen support for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other innovative technologies to deliver government services.

According to the research, nearly a quarter of Australians (23 per cent) have never heard of or used a government digital service. While 56 per cent of the Citizens who had used one said they were satisfied with the experience, Australia still trails all other countries surveyed – the UK (62 per cent), the US (60 per cent), Germany (60 per cent) and Singapore (66 per cent).

Accenture says the survey revealed that Australians have an appetite for digital services but there is concern for transparency around how they will be used to benefit their lives.

Just 44 per cent of Australian citizens said they would increase their use of government digital services if AI was used to offer more efficient services, while two-thirds (69 per cent) identified the ease of interaction as being most important when accessing government services online.

More than half (54 per cent), however, said their trust in government would increase if the government better communicated how the technology innovations they were deploying would improve the lives of citizens.

Significantly, the survey found that even though Australian citizens are increasingly accessing more user-friendly AI-driven solutions in their daily lives, they do not expect the same type of innovations to be used in digital government services.

Almost half (49 per cent) of respondents said they would increase their use of digital government services if they could access multiple government services from an online portal.

“Today, digitisation alone may not be enough to create a holistic and streamlined digital government service. New tools that leverage AI and other innovative technologies have potential to future-proof the provision of online services in Australia,” said Catherine Garner, Accenture Australia’s Health & Public Service Industry Lead.

“By informing citizens of the potential that innovative technology has for creating efficiencies across digital services, governments can build citizen trust and increase the receptivity to and uptake of current and future digital services in Australia.”

The research did indicate Australia’s strong foundation of digital government services, with a third (33 per cent) of Australians currently using multiple digital services, several times a year, according to Accenture.

This is compared with international markets such as the UK and the US with just 22 per cent and 18 per cent of people using these digital services across the year respectively.

“Australia has an incredibly opportunity to create a world-leading public service through digital and innovative technologies,” said Garner.

“These transformational tools can be used to radically streamline and improve the delivery of personalised government services that can truly enhance the lives of all Australians.”

Country Comparisons

  • 33 per cent of Australians use multiple government digital services several times each year as opposed to 22 per cent in the UK and only 18 per cent in the US.
  • 53 per cent of Australians would increase government service use if offered a single portal to access multiple services. This contrasts with only 39 per cent of respondents from the US.
  • Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of survey respondents from Australia do not use or do not know about any government digital services. This contrasts with just 8 per cent of respondents from Singapore.
  • The majority (57 per cent) of respondents from Singapore believe the government should make greater use of innovative AI technologies. Just 34 per cent of Australian respondents hold the same view.
  • Over two-thirds (70 per cent) of respondents from Singapore said they would increase their use of government digital services if their government used AI to deliver the services online around-the-clock. Less than half (49 per cent) of Australians feel the same.
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