E-government given thumbs up

Australians will embrace e-government services provided they know they exist, a comprehensive study has found.The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) made the finding in an independent survey it commissioned of nearly 6,000 Australians.

Australians will embrace e-government services provided they know they exist, a comprehensive study has found.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) made the finding in an independent survey it commissioned of nearly 6,000 Australians.

"This is the first study to cover federal state, territory and local government together, and it shows that people will use online services if they know they're available," Special Minister of State, Senator Eric Abetz, said.

The survey, Australians' Use of and Satisfaction with E-Government Services, found online government offerings are used by 39 percent of Australians. This was up from 21 percent two years ago.

There was good reason for the rise, too. Online government experiences were generally satisfying, according to the survey.

Ninety percent of Internet contacts resulted in people achieving what they wanted, it said.

Lack of awareness -- named by nearly a quarter of respondents -- was the main reason why an online government service would not be used.

"At all focus groups several participants stated 'I didn't know you could do that' when told by others in the group of particular services available online," the survey said.

The survey also analysed the demographics of respondents who opted for communication channels other than the Internet.

The 'converted' demographic was consistent with past research on Internet use. Those who did use e-goverment service were more likely to be male, full-time professional workers with an income of AU$50,000+.

"The challenge for governments is to effectively raise awareness, while bearing in mind that expensive advertising strategies will rarely be justified in terms of financial payback," the survey said.

Most participants surveyed in the focus groups and interviews said time management reasons were the major benefit of accessing goverment online.

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