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Australian government launches review of .au domain

Minister doesn't mention scandals at current operator, says it's time to modernise

Australia will conduct a review of how the nation's .au top level domain is managed.

Minister for communications Mitch Fifield says it's needed because current arrangements have been in place since the year 2001, when the not-for-profit .au Domain Administration (auDA) got the job of operating and managing the .au domain.

Rather a lot has changed since 2000, which is Fifield's main motivation for the review.

Left unsaid in the ministerial press release is that auDA has had a turbulent year, with its CEO resigning after pushback on a plan to suppress publication of board minutes. The organisation has also faced criticism over the decision to operate a hasty tender process to outsource operation of the .au registry. The organisation also recently admitted to lax governance after an expense management review found few controls on travel spending and a tax liability arising from staffers' overseas trips.

The review's Terms of Reference “will examine whether Australia’s top-level domain, .au, is being managed consistent with Government and community expectations.”

The public and industry will be consulted and the review has been asked to “examine and make recommendations on:

  • The most appropriate framework for the management of the .au top level domain
  • How to ensure that Government and community expectations inform auDA’s operation and decision-making, and
  • Mitigation strategies to address future risks to the security and stability of .au.

The Government “expects the review to be finalised by early 2018.” Which is when El Reg will figure out what went on, and what, if anything, is about to change in the way .au domains are administered. ®

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