Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA) has announced that from 12 April 2021, new rules for com.au, net.au, org.au, and asn.au namespaces in the .au domain will come into effect.
The not-for-profit policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space said the new rules were designed to better meet the evolving needs of registrants, enhance trust in the .au domain, and help ensure .au remains Australian and secure.
"This signifies an important step forward in .au governance -- modernising the policy framework, ensuring the .au domain can respond to the changing needs of Internet users, and continuing to build trust and confidence in .au namespaces," auDA CEO Rosemary Sinclair said.
Sinclair said the new rules streamlined and simplified around 30 policies and guidelines that currently govern the .au domain.
Changes included eligibility and allocation rules for some namespaces -- com.au, net.au, org.au, and asn.au; the terms and conditions for .au domain names; the complaints process; and how auDA manages rule compliance.
According to the policy document, the rules aim to ensure that a licensing system is established which is transparent, responsive, accountable, accessible, and efficient; improves the utility of the .au country code top-level domain (ccTLD), for all Australians; promotes consumer protection, fair trading, and competition; provides those protections necessary to maintain the integrity, stability, utility, and public confidence in the .au ccTLD; expresses licence terms and conditions in objective and not subjective terms; implements clear, predictable and reliable complaint processes; and preserves the fundamental principles of no proprietary rights in a domain name, first come, first served, and no hierarchy of rights.
As of 30 June 2020, the total number of domains under management by auDA was 3,180,395, encompassing the namespaces in the .au ccTLD which includes com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au, edu.au, vic.au, nsw.au, act.au, qld.au, nt.au, wa.au, sa.au, and tas.au.
The total figure represents a decrease of less than 1% from June 30 in the previous year.
"Creation of new domains in the last three months of the financial year increased significantly over the same period last year, coinciding with COVID-19 measures that saw an increase in businesses and organisations moving online following restrictions placed on the community's access to bricks and mortar premises," auDA said in its annual report, published last month.
Around 2.8 million have the com.au namespace; just over 223,00 are net.au; more than 73,000 are org.au; and just shy of 1,200 are gov.au.
New South Wales boasts just shy of 1.1 million .au domains under management by auDA.