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Australian Government Domain Name Policy

Under the gov.au Policy and Governance Framework, each jurisdiction may apply additional domain policies, standards and guidelines in assessing domain applications.

Unless otherwise indicated, Australian Government domain names must meet each of the criteria listed below in addition to the gov.au Domain Name Policies.

Assessment of Domain Name Applications

  1. The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), as the Domain Provider for the Australian Government, has the delegated authority to assess individual domain name applications for the jurisdiction.
  2. If the DTA considers that a proposed domain name may call into question the apolitical nature of the Australian Public Service, the DTA may seek advice on the application from Government Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Use of non gov.au Domain Names

  1. Non-corporate Commonwealth entities must utilise a gov.au domain to support their website/s, and not use other non gov.au domain names, unless granted exemption by the Australian Government Chief Information Officer. Other government bodies, such as corporate Commonwealth entities, may utilise a gov.au domain to support their websites and are encouraged to do so.
  2. Government bodies that do utilise a non gov.au domain to support their website/s must advise the DTA, via the Australian Government Domain Provider, of the domains used, to allow a compendium of the Australian Government web estate to be maintained.

Exemptions

  1. Agencies that wish to register an edu.au domain may do so without seeking an exemption, noting that they will need to be able to meet the edu.au policy criteria. However, the equivalent gov.au domain name must also be registered and the DTA must be advised of the edu.au domain name.
  2. An automatic exemption will be granted for all existing non gov.au domain names [as at 5 January 2010, the date of effect] that support government information and services. However, the equivalent gov.au domain name must also be registered and agencies are encouraged to transition away from non gov.au domain names.
  3. The Australian Government Chief Information Officer will consider exemptions for new non gov.au domain names on a case by case basis. Reasons for exemption may include:
    a. Protecting high-profile Government brands:
    i. In some circumstances, agencies may consider that the integrity of their website, e.g. example.gov.au, could be adversely impacted by use of equivalent ‘open’ .au domain names e.g. example.com.au / example.net.au, by private entities. This exemption will only apply in cases where there is an identified risk to government.
    b. Where a gov.au domain name is not appropriate:
    i. In some circumstances a gov.au domain name may not be appropriate and registering in another domain, such as com.au, may better meet the needs of the agency and target audience.
    ii. Where an exemption is granted, the equivalent gov.au domain name must also be registered.
  4. Agencies will not be required to seek an exemption for Government content that is hosted on websites managed by third parties (e.g. Facebook), however this content may be subject to other requirements. 

Transitional Arrangements

Within three months of date of effect of this policy [5 January 2010], agencies should provide a list of all existing non gov.au domains name licences held by the agency to allow a compendium of the Australian Government web estate to be maintained. Additional guidance on implementation of this policy will be developed in consultation with agencies and published on www.domainname.gov.au.

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