Government scrutinises auDA oversight of .au

Launches public consultation

The government will review the management of Australia’s country code top-level domain, .au. Communications minister Senator Mitch Fifield today released terms of reference for the review.

.au is currently managed by .au Domain Administration (auDA), a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1999.

Then communications minister Richard Alston in December 2000 on behalf of the federal government formally endorsed auDA’s administration of .au.

The terms of reference released by Fifield sate that the new review will examine the most appropriate framework for the management of the .au top level domain, how to ensure that government and community expectations inform auDA’s operation and decision-making, and mitigation strategies to address future risks to the security and stability of the TLD.

The Department of Communications and the Arts will shortly release a discussion paper on the issue.

“The .au domain is an intrinsic part of the identity of many Australian businesses and organisations operating on the internet,” a statement released by Fifield siad.

“Consumers visiting .au sites know they are Australian and are protected under Australian consumer laws.”

auDa said in a statement that it welcomed the review.

The review follows a period of turmoil for auDA.

auDA last year appointed a new CEO after ending the contract of the organisation’s inaugural CEO.

In July this year auDA chair Stuart Benjamin resigned ahead of a special general meeting of the organisation that would have considered a no-confidence motion in Benjamin/

Following the SGM, auDA committed to reinstating publishing of board minutes — a demand made in the request for an SGM by auDA members. It also revoked a controversial code of conduct for members.

Concerns have also been raised over the cost of .au domains.

auDA consults on direct registration

auDa itself is currently holding a public consultation on the direct registration of .au domains (e.g. example.au).

“Direct registration will not only provide Australian users with additional choice but will also signal that Australia is a digital economy moving with the times,” an issue paper released by auDA states.

The proposal has previously drawn ire, including from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) which in 2015 said that small businesses were concerned about the need to potentially undertake defensive registration of additional domain names.

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