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New rules for .au domain names are coming in April 2021

A new, streamlined set of rules for the .au domain will come into effect on 12 April 2021.

The .au domain is an important enabler of Australia’s economy and how Australians interact online. Australians have a lot of trust in the .au domain and this new policy framework aims to ensure .au maintains that trust, while being useful to the entire Australian community, whether they are registrants of .au domain names or people using the Internet in their daily lives.

Developed as part of our policy review process, the new rules are an evolution of the current rules. They consolidate the 30+ Published Policies, guidance notes and administrative arrangements that currently govern the .au domain.

The new rules are split into two key policy documents:

.au Domain Administration Rules: Licensing
The terms and conditions for .au domain name licences including the complaints and dispute resolution processes.

.au Domain Administration Rules: Registrar
Rules for companies providing .au domain name registration services that have been accredited by auDA.

The auDA Registrar Agreement, which all accredited .au registrars sign, plays an important role in the new policy framework as it requires registrars to apply the rules and ensure they’re followed when they offer .au domain name services to the public.

The new rules were first published in mid-2019 after significant consultation conducted by auDA and the 2017 Policy Review panel. The start – or “commencement date” was approved by the auDA Board in November 2020.

When do the new rules start?

The new rules (with some exceptions) come into effect at 10:00am AEST, 12 April 2020. This means all .au domain name licences (with the exception of names) created, renewed, or transferred on or after this date will be subject to the new licensing rules.

If you currently hold a .au domain name licence that expires after 10:00AM AEST, 12 April 2020, it is subject to the current (old) rules for the rest of the licence period. If you choose to renew that name it will be subject to the new rules once the new licence period commences.

As it is now less than 90 days before 12 April 2021, existing names becoming eligible for renewal (with the exception of names) will be subject to the new licensing rules at the start of their next licence period when they are renewed.

It is important to note that while you can pay to renew a licence up to 90 days before it expires, the new licence period only begins once the current licence period ends.
If you want to check your .au domain name licence’s expiry date, ask your registrar or submit a domain password recovery request.

What’s changed in the new rules?

While most of the rules remain the same, there are some changes that will affect the eligibility of a small number of registrants. We’ve outlined the specific changes that may affect different registrants in our dedicated site section.

What about second level names?

Second level names, such as, are one of the big changes in the new rules. However, these won’t be implemented on 12 April 2021. Our current focus is on preparing for the April implementation and it is expected second level names will launch in late 2021, after the new rules have been implemented.




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