Every internet location such as a webpage has a unique address, and that address falls under a domain name – for instance, ‘infrastructure.gov.au’.
The not-for-profit .au Domain Administration (auDA) oversees the operation and management framework of the .au domain of the internet. auDA is an independent body endorsed by the Australian Government as the appropriate entity to administer Australia’s country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD)—the .au domain—on behalf of Australian internet users.
The domain name system (DNS) underpins the operation of the internet. The DNS is the global database that translates website names (such as infrastructure.gov.au) into computer-readable internet protocol (IP) addresses. auDA manages the .au portion of the DNS.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications participates in international groups to advocate for Australia's interests regarding the internet, such as:
- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) coordinates DNS and IP address policy at a global level.
- The Governmental Advisory Committee advises ICANN on internet-related public policy—we represent the Australian Government, and advocate Australia's interests, on this committee.
auDA’s Terms of Endorsement
auDA is independent from the Government, however it has been endorsed as the .au manager since 2000. auDA’s current Terms of Endorsement provide the Government's formal endorsement of auDA, with this endorsement subject to auDA's compliance with the Government's expectations.
auDA develops and implements .au domain policies and allocates (or licences) .au domain names to users who meet its eligibility criteria, for up to five years.
auDA is solely responsible for making policy on .au domain matters, but it is required to support the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance and consult widely with Government and the community prior to making a decision. From time to time the Department provides feedback to auDA on policy matters to inform it’s consideration of an issue. View:
- The department's letter to auDA on the proposed licensing rules
Apart from overseeing auDA’s adherence to the Terms of Endorsement, the Government also has some reserve legislative powers relating to the Australian domain, located in:
- Telecommunications Act 1997 (see sections 474–477)
- Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005 (see section 11).
2021 Review of the Terms of Endorsement for auDA
In 2017-18, the former Department of Communications and the Arts undertook a review of auDA's governance arrangements (see link below for more information). It was recommended that the Terms of Endorsement arising from the review should be revisited after two years of operation. This further review was completed in 2021, and included a public consultation process.
Following the recommendations of the review, updated Terms of Endorsement have been issued:
- Media release announcing the new Terms of Endorsement
- Updated Terms of Endorsement
- Final report of the 2021 review
- Submissions to the review
- Letter from Minister Fletcher to the Chair of auDA
- Response from auDA Chair to Minister Fletcher
The new Terms are based on a set of core principles, including:
- Effective engagement with the Australian Government
- Supporting trust and confidence in .au
- Promoting principles of competition, fair trading and consumer protection
- Supporting fair and transparent multi-stakeholder engagement
- Supporting a membership structure that reflects the diversity of the Australian community
- Maintaining effective governance processes that are transparent, accountable, support effective decision-making and promote the interests of the Australian community
2018 Review of auDA
For information about the 2017-18 review of auDA please see 2018 Review of the .au Domain Administration.
Board Observer Role
The department, representing the Government, sits as a non-voting observer at auDA Board meetings. Details of the arrangement can be found in:
Consistent with the 2018 Review, a Nominations Committee comprising representatives from industry, business, consumers and the Department, representing the Government, was established to reconstitute auDA's Board. Unlike other committee members, the Department's representative is not a Governing Member of auDA.
The Nominations Committee was appointed on 16 May 2019. View:
If you have any queries or complaints regarding domain names or auDA please visit the Voicing your concern page on our website contact the department directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.