Overcoming the Barriers to Accessing Government Online Services in Australia: The Case of Selected Non-English Speaking Migrants

Overcoming the Barriers to Accessing Government Online Services in Australia: The Case of Selected Non-English Speaking Migrants

Mohammad Mohammad (University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, Australia) and Yi-Chen Lan (University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, Australia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/jesma.2013070101
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Abstract

Australia has an inherent desire to afford migrants with a wide range of opportunities, so it naturally follows that government online services should also be available to migrants with a non-English speaking background (NESB). Despite the admirable efforts of governments and local agencies in Australia to provide such services, the reality is that many NESB migrants are not taking advantage of these available services. This case study investigates possible reasons for this issue, as well as suggestions for improvement. In addition, this study, involving interviews with 30 selected Arab residents, identifies language and low computer skills as among the primary reasons why many NESB migrants are discouraged from using government online services in Australia. The results of this case study, in combination with the extensive literature on the topic, show that Australia should implement ICT-based or e-government policies, programs, and services that more accurately reflect migrant cultures and languages so that migrant integration can be more fully accomplished. Specifically, this article presents a NESB model that adopts the value of user-centricity or a more individual-focused approach to government online services in Australia.
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Literature Review

Extensive research exists that reports on the impact of ICT on the performance and competitiveness of corporate and social organisations (see, e.g., Cao, 2010; Elliot, 2011; Lu & Ramamurthy, 2011; Niehaves, Klose & Becker, 2009; Tallon & Pinsonneault, 2011). These studies include specific attention to problems connected with institution-based ICT programmes and systems, especially the impact of these issues on the external environment—chiefly the target beneficiaries of these ICT initiatives (Bailur, 2007a, 2007b; Kiran, 2006; Rajalekshmi, 2006).

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