Government endorses reforms to .au domain authority to better support internet users


A Federal Government review of auDA – the not-for-profit organisation responsible for administering the .au domain – has found its management framework is “no longer fit-for-purpose” and requires urgent reforms to meet the needs of Australia’s internet community.

The review, undertaken by the Department of Communications and the Arts, outlines 29 recommendations for the auDA to implement within the next 24 months, with a view to modernising its management framework, last reviewed 17 years ago, and fostering greater trust and confidence in the .au namespace.

Recommendations include an overhaul of auDA’s membership model to ensure its membership base better reflects Australia’s diverse and evolving internet community, and new processes for appointing Board directors. Specifically, the Board would be selected to ensure an appropriate skills mix, and structured so that the majority of the Board is independent of the auDA membership.

Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield said the government had accepted all of the reforms and that they were necessary to ensure auDA is “fit-for-purpose and supports the interests of Australia’s internet users”, including businesses and organisations for whom the au. domain is “an intrinsic part of [their] identity”.

“The Government has issued modernised terms of endorsement to auDA, reflecting changes to the digital landscape,” Minister Fifield said. “These terms of endorsement outline the Government’s expectations and provide auDA with the mandate to make the necessary reforms to its governance arrangements. The government expects to see significant progress within the next 3 to 6 months from auDA in implementing these changes.”

Cameron Boardman, CEO of auDA, welcomed the findings of the review, adding his organisation had already begun working on the implementation plan for reform.

“We are committed to working with members and other stakeholders to transform auDA into an organisation that is better equipped to meet the challenges of a vibrant and evolving namespace,” he said. “It is a vitally important public asset that needs to be administered in the best interests of Australia’s 21 million internet users and the wider community.”