Computers for low-income households

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A Sydney non-profit organisation is recycling computers in a bid to increase the number of low-income households in Australia with access to a PC.

A Sydney non-profit organisation is recycling computers in a bid to increase the number of low-income households in Australia with access to a PC.

Work Ventures Group is a not for profit social and economic development agency, which has embarked on an IT recycling program with equipment donated by businesses and governmental agencies.

Steve Lawrence, CEO and founder of Work Ventures Group, told iTnews that the idea came from seeing this sort of recycling program internationally, in countries such as the US and Britain.

Called Connect IT, the initiative takes used computers and other IT equipment which are donated by businesses and refurbishes them. The equipment is then resold to low-income households, community groups and schools.

Lawrence said that companies such as Westpac Banking Corporation and Minter Ellison Lawyers, and also governmental organisations, had donated equipment to the program. Microsoft had donated software for the refurbished computers, according to a statement from Work Ventures Group.

"Through the program old computers that would otherwise be dumped in landfill, at great cost to the environment, are transformed into a useful resource for disadvantaged people, while providing jobs at the same time," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said it was "fabulously pleased" with how the program was going. "We know there's something like 1.5 million Australian households that don't have access to a PC either at home or anywhere else, so it's a substantial need," he said. "Our goal over a three year period is to reduce the digital divide problem by 10 percent."

Lawrence said the organisation hopes to refurbish and resell about 10,000 PCs this year, and has plans to partner with organisations in Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia to roll out the venture in those states.

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