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How do government bodies register a gov.au domain?

The gov.au domain names are managed by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) via the domain name website. Government bodies must meet a number of criteria to be eligible for a gov.au domain name.

Salsa Digital 13 February 2019

Who can use gov.au domains?

To secure a gov.au domain name, you must be an Australian, state, territory or local government entity. The www.domainname.gov.au website manages the gov.au domains for all jurisdictions except Tasmania and the Northern Territory (although there’s information relevant to TAS/NT government bodies on the website, and links to access information and apply for a domain name).

To apply for a gov.au domain name some very specific criteria must be met, which are spelt out in the Eligibility and Allocation Policy. This policy covers general criteria like the ‘first-come, first-served’ policy, the licence period (which is fixed at two years), and information about domain names not available because they’re on the reserved list. Then, the policy looks at more specific criteria such as the organisation’s status as a defined government body; requirements for the contact person and technical contact; and criteria around the domain name’s intended purpose.

Finally, the Eligibility and Allocation Policy looks at domain name format. This focuses on areas like rules around jurisdictional extensions, the need for domain names to be clearly recognisable as associated with the purpose, some things a domain name must not do (e.g. be a personal name or be more than 60 characters long), and technical requirements (e.g. must be at least two characters long, contain only letters, numbers and hyphens, etc.).

In addition to the Eligibility and Allocation Policy there are also three other domain policies that apply to all gov.au domains:

There is also a specific policy for each jurisdiction:

How do you register/get a gov.au domain?

You can apply for a gov.au domain name online, via the homepage of the domainname.gov.au website (on the top, right-hand side). For all jurisdictions except Tasmania and the Northern Territory this will take you through to a simple form that you can complete and then submit. For Tasmania and the Northern Territory, it takes you to a page with the contact details for the domain name administrator in that jurisdiction.

What else can you do on domainname.gov.au?

Through the domainname.gov.au site you can also change name servers, change the contact details associated with a domain, remove a domain name, and complete a .au Whois lookup.

Future plans

The DTA has recently posted an opportunity on the DTA Marketplace and is looking for a provider to design, build, host and maintain a secure Domain Name Administration Portal to replace the existing service.

Currently, most of the work around domain name administration is done manually by DTA staff. The new development will create a self-service portal so registrants can directly manage some of their details.

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