Domain names and IP addresses
The domain name system (DNS) underpins the operation of the internet. The DNS is the global database that translates website names (such as www.communications.gov.au) into computer-readable internet protocol (IP) addresses.
We participate internationally to advocate for Australia's interests regarding the DNS:
- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) coordinates DNS and IP addresses at a global level—including top-level domains like '.com', '.biz' or '.melbourne'.
- The Governmental Advisory Committee advises ICANN on internet-related public policy—we represent the Australian Government, and advocate Australia's interests, on this committee.
The .au domain Administration
.au is Australia's country code domain. The government has delegated responsibility for .au domain to the .au Domain Administration (auDA), an independent not-for-profit industry body which develops and implements .au domain policies and allocates .au domains. It is not part of the Australian Government.
The Australian Government also has some powers relating to the Australian domain:
- 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
The Terms of Endorsement (ToE) provide the Government's formal endorsement of auDA, with this endorsement subject to auDA's compliance with the Government's expectations.
In 2018, the former Department of Communications and the Arts undertook a review of auDA's governance arrangements (see below for more information). The review indicated that the ToE should be reviewed after two years of operation. This review is now underway, which includes a public consultation process. The Department invites members of the public to make written submissions via the 'Have your say' page on the Department's website.
Feedback will help determine if the ToE remain fit for purpose.
Additionally, we are seeking feedback on whether the ToE:
- Reflect the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance, promoting competition, fair trading and consumer protection
- Reflect the expectations of the broader internet community
- Promote trust and confidence in the .au administration.
You may read a fact sheet about the review, view proposed changes to the ToE, and make a written submission at: Review of .au Domain Administration (auDA) Terms of Endorsement consultation or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm, 10 September 2021.
2018 Review of the .au Domain Administration
On 19 October 2017 the Australian Government announced a review of the management of the .au domain to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose in Australia's digital landscape.
The review was completed in April 2018. The key finding was that the existing management framework was no longer fit-for-purpose and needed to be reformed. The government accepted all 29 recommendations of the review, and the then Minister for Communications issued new terms of endorsement for auDA which set out the government's expectations for auDA's management.
The department is continuing to engage closely with auDA.
- Minister's media release—Findings of Australia's .au domain review released dated 18 April 2018
- review report
- new terms of endorsement for auDA.
auDA accepted the recommendations and worked with the department over two years to implement reforms, successfully completing all recommendations by May 2020.
- auDA's response to the Minister and its Implementation Plan
- the department's letter to auDA on the 12-month checkpoint of the Review [DoCA letter to auDA—Review of auDA 12-month check point—16 May 2019
- Minister's letter to auDA regarding the 18-month checkpoint of the Review, 17 December 2019 [PDF 743kb]
- Minister's letter to auDA regarding the 21-month checkpoint of the Review, 4 March 2020
- Minister's letter to auDA congratulating it on completing all recommendations, 25 May 2020 [PDF 1.1MB].
From time to time the department provides feedback to auDA on policy matters for auDA's consideration. View:
- The department's letter to auDA on the proposed licensing rules [DoCA letter to auDA—Licensing Rules—5 August 2019]
- auDA's response to the department's letter on the proposed licencing rules [auDA letter to DoCA—Licensing Rules—19 August 2019]
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 below. View:
- the department's letter to auDA [DoCA—Board observer role—7 May 2019]
- auDA's reply to the department [auDA reply to DoCA observer status letter—8 May 2019].
Consistent with the 2018 Review, a Nominations Committee comprising representatives from industry, business, consumers and the department, representing the Australian Government, was established to reconstitute auDA's Board. The department's representative is not a Governing Member.
The Nominations Committee was appointed on 16 May 2019. View:
If you have any queries or complaints regarding auDA please refer to the Voicing your concern section on our website.