Consultation has begun on the Government’s proposed Online Safety Bill.
23 December 2020

The Government is committed to keeping Australians safe online, and wants all Australians to have the opportunity to have their say on the draft Bill.

The Government's proposed Online Safety Bill provides new and strengthened powers for the eSafety Commissioner to keep Australians safe online. The draft Bill also requires the digital industry to do more to make sure that the services used by Australians are safe.

Australia's eSafety Commissioner was the first dedicated online safety regulator to be established in the world and acts as a safety net for when online services fail to keep Australians safe online.

The proposed Bill includes a new adult cyber abuse scheme that will provide a pathway for the removal of seriously harmful online abuse when websites, social media or other online services don't remove it after a complaint. The Bill also reduces the time in which online services must delete cyberbullying or image-based abuse material from 48 to 24 hours after receiving a notice from the eSafety Commissioner.

The Bill includes establishing in law a set of Basic Online Safety Expectations for the digital industry, with mandatory reporting requirements that will allow the eSafety Commissioner to require specific information about online harms and what individual services are doing about them.

The draft Bill would update Australia's Online Content Scheme which regulates online content in Australia. The Bill requires sections of the technology industry to create new and strengthened industry codes that meet the Government's expectations to keep users safe. The Bill also allows the eSafety Commissioner to create industry standards. In addition, the eSafety Commissioner will be empowered to issue take-down notices to sites anywhere in the world if they host seriously harmful online content such as child sexual abuse or terrorist material.

In addition, the eSafety Commissioner will have the power to require online services provide contact or identifying information for individuals using anonymous accounts to abuse, bully or share intimate images without consent.

For more information about making a submission on the draft Bill visit communications.gov.au/online-safety.