Rich-Phillips: auDA oversight for .melbourne domain space

Victoria’s technology minister says that auDA should have a role in overseeing the new .melbourne top-level domain

Victoria’s Minister for Technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips, has told an Australian Internet policy conference that he believes auDA – .au Domain Administration Ltd., the organisation that currently manages the .au top-level domain – should have a role in overseeing new Australian geography-based TLDs including .melbourne.

“Once available, .melbourne will be positioned in partnership with the City of Melbourne as a premium domain space that is both sought after and run primarily for the benefit of Victorians,” Rich-Phillips told the Australian Internet Governance Forum (auIGF) earlier this week.

“This will enable us to protect the valuable brand that is Melbourne. Australia has a strong track record in managing our national .au domain space and we aim to replicate this with the .melbourne domain,” the minister said.

“auDA has positioned itself as an internationally recognised independent expert in providing policy and oversight for the .au domain. It has helped .au to achieve global recognition as a highly regarded domain."

“auDA and the federal government would appear well-placed to take on the management role in relation to the new Australian and Victorian related TLDs such as .melbourne and .sydney," Rich-Phillips said.

"This would ensure that these premium names and government assets sit well alongside the well-established and recognised .au domain.”

An auDA management role for .melbourne has previously not been publicly floated. The process of preparing the application for a new top-level domain to submit to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – the international organisation that oversees IP addresses allocation and the Internet’s Domain Name System – was carried out by ARI Registry Services in partnership with the Victorian state government and the City of Melbourne. An ARI spokesperson said he did not have any information on a possible auDA role in oversight of .melbourne.

“I think all I can say at this stage is it has yet to be decided,” auDA CEO Chris Disspain said in an email.

“I cannot make any other comment for now.”

"We are interested to explore possibilities for the policy oversight of .Melbourne. auDA would be a natural choice, given their experience and expertise with the .au domain name," a spokesperson from Victoria’s Department of State Development, Business and Innovation said.

ICANN signed off on the creation of .melbourne in May this year. The initial approval process assesses the financial and technical ability of an applicant to manage a new top-level domain. The decision meant that URLs ending with .melbourne could be available as soon as next year.

A "conservative" estimate prepared by ARI Registry Services indicated more than 27,000 applications for .melbourne domain names can be expected once the domain space goes live.

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