The domain name system (DNS) underpins the operation of the internet. The DNS is the global database that translates human-readable domain names (such as www.dbcde.gov.au) into computer-readable internet protocol (IP) addresses. The Department participates in a number of international and domestic bodies that have a role in the administration of the DNS:
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the organisation responsible for coordinating the DNS at a global level. Amongst other things, ICANN:
- decides whether to introduce new top-level domains or to re-allocate or withdraw existing top-level domains.
- manages the global pool of IP addresses.
Governments participate in ICANN through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which provides advice to ICANN on public policy issues. Australia has been an active member of the GAC since its inception in 1999.
The .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) is the independent, not-for-profit organisation responsible for managing the Australian '.au' domain name space. The Department participates on certain auDA policy development panels and as an observer at auDA board meetings.
The Australian Government has legislative powers regarding electronic addressing in the Telecommunications Act 1997 (see sections 474 – 477) and the Australian Communications and Media Act 2005 (see section 11).
- .au Domain Administration
- Telecommunications Act 1997
- Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005
ICANN's new gTLD program
ICANN has developed a process to allow any organisation to apply to operate its own generic top-level domain (gTLD). This could lead to the introduction of many different new gTLDs, not just the familiar '.com', '.org' or '.net'. In future, domain names could end with words such as '.movie', brand names such as '.canon', or even city names such as '.paris'.
- Fact sheet on gTLD changes June 2012 (PDF, 948.2 KB)
- Fact sheet on gTLD changes June 2012 (DOC 176.5 KB)
The Department is interested in your comments on new gTLDs, which you can send to newgTLDs@DBCDE.gov.au
You can also comment directly to ICANN via its New gTLDs sub-site: