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Free & low-cost computers and Software
If your group needs a computer, see if you can get someone or organisation to donate their old one or try one of these organisations. Scroll down for more details about these organisations and also a few recycling businesses. The information is taken from various websites and leaflets. It's not meant as a recommendation.


Green PC Com IT Recruitment ERNi
Beyond Disability Inc. ComputerBank  

Recycling businesses


Websites and other online links


Green PC

Infoxchange Australia has developed a Digital Divide Strategy aimed at addressing the growing inequality of access to the new information technologies among low-income and disadvantaged groups. Short-term funding was obtained from the Victorian Government’s Community Jobs Program.

Green Peripherals and Components, otherwise known as GreenPC, is a successful social enterprise initiative of Infoxchange Australia that operates to service to low income people on a national basis. GreenPC now operates out of two centres located in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Green PC's are recycled personal computers that are refurbished and repackaged into usable Internet ready computers and then made available to low-income communities, individuals and community organisations. The only qualification for an individual or family to have access to a Green PC computer is that they be holders of current Health Care Cards or are able to verify their low income status in some other way.

The objectives of Green PC are to upgrade and Internet-enable outdated computers. A large number of computers are donated to the Infoxchange for this purpose. Once they have been refurbished these computers are made available for distribution.

Examples of prices Pentium II 350 with Windows XP $510, HP Laserjet 5M refurbished $240. The website has details of what’s available. You can order on line.

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Com IT Recruitnet

We take donations of computer hardware, recycle and build working computers, and give them out for free to community organizations.

Organizations that we have provided services for include:

  • African Information Network
  • Amnesty International
  • Australian Kurdish Community Inc.
  • Australian Retired Persons Association
  • Berry Street Inc
  • ComputerBank
  • Council for single mothers and their children
  • CSMC
  • Elsternwick Primary School
  • Equipment Recycling Network Inc.
  • Essendon Legal Centre
  • Essendon Youth Accommodation Group
  • Fish Care Project
  • Holden Street Neighbourhood Centre
  • Job Support
  • North East Foster Care
  • North & West Melbourne Neighbourhood Centre
  • Parents of Hearing Impaired Children
  • Rotary´s Computers for Kids Project
  • Rural & Peninsula Disability Support
  • St. Kilda Indigenous Nursery
  • Sybila Feminist Press
  • The Tree Project
  • Whole Earth Institute
  • Whole Health Institute

To make this service possible, we have received support from organizations who wish to support both the participants and the community organizations taking part. The following organizations have provided hardware we can rebuild into functional machines, software to ensure our participants can get experience on industry standard programs or other donations. Organizations that have Donated Equipment to us include:

  • AAMI Insurance
  • The Age Newspaper
  • The Brotherhood of St. Lawrence
  • Information Technology Health Awareness Association
  • Macromedia
  • RJI Constructions
  • The Salvation Army
  • Zurich Insurance

Participants get real hands-on experience pulling apart and putting together computers. Become familiar with the inner working of all the hardware and demystify the whole thing!

A wide range of manuals, tutorials and spec documents are available on our intranet server, to assist participants working in this area.

A not-for-profit training and employment agency, Recruitnet collects old computers, repairs them and then donates them back to community groups and charities which find themselves technologically isolated because of the high cost of IT.

Recruitnet repairs and reconfigures the computers and installs generic software, enabling them to perform all the usual basic functions. They are suitable for basic office type work, for the word processing, the database, the spreadsheets, the e-mail and the basic Internet operations.

Recruitnet teaches those who receive the recycled computers how to use them.
The computers are repaired by volunteers from the PC Users Group.

The volunteers are training unemployed people taking part in work-for-the dole programs.

Recruitnet also has training in Databases, Linux, Web Design and Desktop Publishing

After three years of successful domestic recycling, Recruitnet is now going global. It's teamed up with World Vision and just delivered 100 computers to Malawi and Romania, where they've been distributed to community centres and schools in country areas.

Computer components are highly toxic and there's a huge environmental problem from dangerous recycling practices in the developing world. But World Vision has committed to responsible disposal once the computers need replacing to ensure it's not just shifting the problem.

Requests for equipment must be done on behalf of a recognised non-profit organisation.

Recruitnet Inc, 114-188 Campbell Street Collingwood. 9416 2604

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The Equipment Recycling Network Inc provide a multitude of services to the disabled community, including an online registry of equipment, and a program to recycle computers and sell them at nominal cost to disabled persons. For a cost of between $35 and $50 eligible people can buy a computer with a full guarantee and access to their staff for support. They are a non-profit organisation staffed by volunteers.

ERNi require intel based computers, printers, and modems. They frequently require volunteer staff as well.

Phone: 9879 5211 or 9879 5112 Email: Web:

ERNInc. is a Leadership Maroondah Initiative, proudly supported by Maroondah City Council.
We are a non-profit organisation, staffed by volunteers.

In addition to our recycling of specialized equipment for people with disabilities we recycle computers, donated by businesses and other community-spirited organisations and individuals, back out to people (especially children) with disabilities at a nominal cost. We have volunteer technicians who wipe clean donated computers and install Public Domain Software and a word processing package on them. In order to qualify for one of these computers the applicant must provide a letter from a Service Provider (e.g. Doctor, Paediatrician, Physiotherapist or Case Management Officer) stating that they do have a disability and how they believe the applicant would benefit from having access to a personal computer.

Major Organisations that have donated so far include Nestle, RMIT Faculty of Business Studies, TADVIC, Victorian Council of YMCA'S, Outer Eastern College of TAFE, BMW Australia, Methodist Ladies College, William Mercer & Sons, and Perpetual Trustees.

We are grateful for any donations of computers in good working order, especially 486 computers and upwards which will run the specialised software some of our applicants need, as well as printers and other peripherals.

Erni website also has ads from people wanting to sell second hand equipment, such as wheel chairs.

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Beyond Disability Inc.

A non profit, volunteer team to help provide Internet access for low income housebound mobility disabled people on the Mornington Peninsula and surrounds.

To assist the mobility disabled, elderly disabled (through "Housebound & Elderly Citizens Online") and their carers to have access to the Internet so they can be better informed about advocacy, home help and in house care, professional services, living skills, support groups, chat groups, online education and leisure.

"Internet Empowerment" will be a bridge for participants to a better perspective of community. BDI Internet program will facilitate community participation and self help education by increasing knowledge and access to resources.

BDI is collaborating with the ParaQuad Victoria and also Frankston Community Net 2000.

Once only joining fee $33 (incl $3 GST) payable with agreements Internet access is $33 per 3 months

Annual membership fee currently $11 (membership open to people with disabilities – on DSP or similar)

Thanks to Microsoft's Community Assistance Initiative, RPDS members receive Windows 95or 98, Outlook Express and internet Explorer & Norman Data Defence anti virus software. MSWord.

BDI will also provide Mandrake Linux 8.1 as an alternative platform

Contact: Richard Stubbs 5977 6547

Mail : c/- "Girrahween House"

PO Box 1451 Pearcedale Vic 3912

There are some contacts for similar organisations in other states at:

The Trading Post and The Computer Trader can be good if you know what you want and you can go through the paper for a few weeks looking for a good buy.

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The Computerbank Project is an Australian initiative to supply free GNU/Linux systems to low income individuals, community groups and disadvantaged schools. This Project has resulted in the formation of volunteer organisations in several Australian states.

Computerbank is all about people getting together to form or support organisations that share a common purpose. The Computerbank Projects aim to collect and then redistribute older donated computer hardware to people who can't otherwise afford the costs associated with computing.

Computerbank branches across Australia are now providing help to low income individuals, families and under-resourced community groups and schools, especially with obtaining computer hardware and training in how to use it. Where possible, Computerbank will try to help the recipients of systems and networks get internet connections Computerbank uses GNU/Linux on all systems distributed because:

GNU/Linux doesn't have any license issues. It is licensed under the General Public License (GPL), which doesn't restrict the number of users, restrict your use of the software or require payment.
GNU/Linux can be used successfully on older hardware
GNU/Linux systems can provide users with all they could ever need in today's advancing information technology society
GNU/Linux systems allow users to gain hands on experience by "looking under the hood"

Access to information and helpful people, through an ever-expanding collaborative network is only an email away

Computerbank accepts donations of working computer equipment and peripherals. Donations have been received from the corporate, community, and government sectors and from many individuals.

All Computerbank Projects aim to build up public awareness of their activities. We encourage the general public to support this project by donating old hardware or by participating in our activities.

Computerbank Projects are establishing a community support and training network for all computer recipients - the success of which will depend on the generosity of contributors and the active involvement of volunteers... So join or support a Computerbank project today!

Computerbank collects donations of computer equipment from companies, organisations and private individuals to refurbish into working systems. When the hardware of these systems has been tested satisfactorily they are installed with the GNU / Linux operating system and a set of useful programs ready to be distributed to disadvantaged individuals and/or community groups in Victoria (both metropolitan and rural).

Computerbank Australia believes that GNU/Linux is the best choice of operating system as it is free of license issues and is able to run efficiently on older hardware, and a custom setup can be maximised for the system's hardware. We usually distribute systems with Graphical User Interfaces (GUI's).

We will be licensing our training courses and resources under the General Public License (GPL).

You can support Computerbank by becoming a corporate, full or associate member. Please email us for further information. Computerbank needs all kinds of people to help us with the Victorian operations. Among other things, we need volunteers to help with finding and picking up donations of computers, checking hardware and installing software on computers for our recipients, teaching at our training sessions, developing our internet and intranet, organising our functions, helping with publicity, providing telephone support for our new users, writing documentation, and helping with general administrative tasks. The main requirement for volunteers is enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

Computerbank Victoria has an office at 92 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne, which is open as follows:

Monday: Closed.. Tuesday: 12 midday - 6pm. Wednesday: 12 midday - 6pm. Thursday: 10 am - 6pm. Friday: 10 am - 6pm.. Saturday: 1 pm - 5pm.. Sunday: Closed.. If you would like to drop in, it's always a good idea to ring (03) 9600 9161 to make sure there is someone available to talk to - it often gets very busy!

We are particularly looking for surplus computers with a minimum specification of: CPU - Pentium or better, Memory - 32 MB or better, Disk capacity - 1 GB or better

The Computerbank Co-Ordinator for Victoria is Kylie Davies

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Recycling businesses

MRI Aust
Hitechnology Metal Recyclers 20-24 Dennis St, Campellfield 9305 4611
Salvages computers for resale. Breaks down old ones for recycling. Also recyclers of telecommunications, office equipment & batteries.

Lefour Seasons Computing, computer & toner cartridge recycling 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne Phone 9654 5053

Smorgon Metal Recyclers, recycle to recover metals. Old Geelong Rd, Brooklyn & 62 Fitzgerald Rd, Laverton, Phone 9360 2352

See also Computer Equipment-Repairs, Service & Upgrades or Computer Equipment Second-hand listings in the Yellow Pages

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Microsoft Australia - Software Donation Programme

Provides free new Microsoft software to non-profit groups. It is easy to apply. You fill in a simple form. You need to know exactly what you want. They don’t provide advice. For application form visit the website or phone 02 9360 1966 or fax 02 9361 6698.

Other companies have similar schemes to offer free software to non-profit groups.

Adobe Software


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Websites and other online links

My Connected Community and VICNET

Have free to community groups - homepages, online forums and chat facilities. Contact Vicnet via their website or on 9669 9710 or 1800 629 835

Recycled Disks – Green Disks are available for use and to save resources.

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