The public has a chance to have its say on the future of Australia's national top level domain with the federal government today releasing a discussion paper on the matter.
In Australia, domain names are administered by .au Domain Administration (auDA), a self-regulatory body headed by chief executive officer, Chris Disspain.
auDA regularly comes under fire from some sections of the community for its regulation, particularly the rule that maintains only those with a "close and substantial" business connection to a specific name can register the associated .com.au domain.
In a statement issued this morning, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, said it was appropriate to review the current regime as it had been in place for more than five years.
"This discussion paper forms part of a review of the .au Internet domain, which I announced in August 2006," she said.
"The Australian government is committed to ensuring that arrangements for the Australian Internet remain appropriate, internationally competitive and forward-looking, while continuing to deliver the maximum possible value to Australian business and the wider community."
The public has until the close of business on 28 November to make a submission commenting on the discussion paper.
Coonan said a broad range of issues would be considered, including the administrative structure of .au, naming structures, policy development and enforcement mechanisms such as competitiveness and cost effectiveness, international participation and emerging technical issues.
At auDA's mid-August annual meeting, the group's chairman Tony Staley said the government's review was not expected to result in any major changes.
However others such as Larry Bloch -- chief executive of one of the nation's largest sellers of domain names NetRegistry -- have consistently criticised auDA for its approach.
Interested parties can freely download the government's discussion paper.