Statutory Review of the Online Safety Act 2021

We are seeking submissions on the operation and effectiveness of the Online Safety Act 2021.

Why we want your input

Your input will help inform Australia’s online safety legislation. The Online Safety Act 2021 must be independently reviewed within 3 years after commencement, under a statutory requirement. The Australian Government has brought forward this independent review so that the Act can keep pace with the evolving online environment.

How you can voice your opinion

You can have your say by providing a submission using the webform below by 5pm AEST on 21 June 2024. The Issues Paper includes a series of questions to help guide your submissions.

What will be the outcome of this consultation?

Your views will help inform the independent statutory review of the Online Safety Act 2021 to ensure there is an effective and up-to-date legislative framework to protect Australians from online harms.

The Issue

On 22 November 2023, the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, announced the commencement of a statutory review into the operation of the Online Safety Act 2021 (the Act).

Ms Delia Rickard PSM was appointed to conduct the review and provide a report to the Minister by 31 October 2024.

The Act commenced in January 2022 and introduced a regulatory framework to improve and promote the safety of Australians online. The Act provides broad powers to the online safety regulator, the eSafety Commissioner.

The Review is a broad-ranging examination of the effectiveness of the Act, and will consider whether additional protections are needed for harmful online material such as online hate and image-based abuse.

It will consider the need for further protections to address online harms stemming from new and emerging technologies like generative artificial intelligence (including deepfakes) and algorithms, and whether the existing penalty regime works as an effective deterrent to industry non-compliance.

The Review will also consider international developments in online safety regulation, including whether the law should be amended to impose on platforms a new duty of care towards their users, and what further steps can be taken to ensure industry acts in the best interests of children on their services.

An Issues Paper is available below to help community members and other stakeholders make an informed contribution to the review. The Issues Paper includes questions on 5 key topics:

  • Australia’s regulatory approach to online services, systems and processes
  • protecting those who have experienced or encountered online harms
  • penalties, and investigation and information gathering powers
  • international approaches to address online harms
  • regulating the online environment, technology and environmental changes.

The Act as currently in force can be found at www.legislation.gov.au.

There are legal considerations relevant to what we can publish on our website. We will not publish submissions that may expose the department to legal action.

Relevant documentation

Please note the issues paper was updated on 29 April 2024 to make minor text corrections. For the information of submitters, this included a change to consultation question 20 which now reads ‘Should the Commissioner have powers to impose sanctions such as business disruption sanctions?’

Participate

29 Apr 2024 00:01 AEST
21 Jun 2024 17:00 AEST
Open
days remaining 29 of 54

We invite you to tell us your views on this topic.

Please respond to the questions of interest to you – you do not need to respond to every question. Note the issues paper was updated on 29 April 2024 to make minor text corrections. For the information of submitters, this included a change to consultation question 20 which now reads ‘Should the Commissioner have powers to impose sanctions such as business disruption sanctions?’

All submissions (other than private submissions) will be published on the website. 

Comments will not be published, unless you clearly indicate you would like it to be published as a submission. Comments that are not published will still inform the review process in the same manner as submissions. 

Please include:

  • contact name
  • organisation name, if applicable
  • contact details, including telephone number, postal and email addresses
  • confirmation whether or not your submission can be made public—published—or kept confidential.

All submissions to be made public need to meet the Digital Service Standard for accessibility. Any submission that does not meet this standard may be modified before being made public.

If your submission is to be made public, please ensure you do not include any personal information that you don't want to be published.

If your submission is confidential, please ensure each page of the submission is marked as confidential.

Please click on the 'Have your say now' button below to upload your submission.

* denotes a required field.
Step 1: Your submission
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Step 2: Contact details
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Publication, Confidentiality and Privacy of Submissions Instructions
We may use your details to contact you regarding your submission and we will never share any of your contact details or make your email, or phone number public abiding by our Privacy Policy.

Alternatively please email your completed template submission to OSAReview@COMMUNICATIONS.gov.au or send it to:

Director – Strategy and Research
Online Safety, Media and Platforms Division
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts
GPO Box 594
Canberra ACT 2601

Privacy Collection Notice

Your submission, including any personal information supplied, is being collected by the department in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

Use

The department may use your submission to inform consideration of issues relating to online safety and the Statutory Review of the Online Safety Act 2021 and will store this information securely.

Disclosure

The department may disclose your submission to the independent reviewer. The department may publish your submission as explained below. Otherwise your submission will not be disclosed unless authorised or required by law.

Contacting You

The department may use your contact information to make further contact with you about your submission and the consultation process.

Publication

Unless marked confidential (see below) submissions (including the author’s name) may be published in part or full on the department’s website or in any public response by the department. When publishing, the department will redact any personal contact details of the author.

Confidentiality

Confidential submissions will not be published and will only be disclosed in the following circumstances:

  • in response to a request by a Commonwealth Minister;
  • where required by a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia;
  • where necessary in the public interest; or
  • where authorised or required by law.

Submissions will only be treated as confidential if they are expressly stated to be confidential. Automatically generated confidentiality statements or disclaimers appended to an email do not suffice for this purpose. If you wish you make a confidential submission, you must indicate this by ensuring your submission is clearly marked confidential. Even if a submission is not marked confidential, the department may choose not to publish it, or any part of it, in the department’s discretion (for example where it includes personal information or opinions about a third party).

Access

The department will securely store your personal information and the department’s privacy policy contains information regarding complaint handling processes and how to access and/or seek correction of personal information held by the department. Further information is available at Privacy.