On 12 April 2021 a new set of rules for the .au country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) comes into effect.
The new rules contain a range of changes which will affect some current registrants of org.au domain names.
When the new rules will apply
The new rules come into effect on 12 April 2021. All domain names in the .au ccTLD created, transferred or renewed on or after this date will be subject to the new licensing rules.
If your domain name licence expires after 12 April 2021 the rules in place at the time you registered, or last renewed your domain name will apply until the end of the current licence period. If that name is renewed, the new licensing rules will apply to it as the new licence is only created once the current one expires.
Changes to the rules for org.au domain names
These new rules contain changes which will affect some registrants of org.au domain names.
There are two main changes org.au registrants should be aware of
• Changes in the eligibility rules for org.au names
• Changes to the allocation rules for org.au names
Changes to the org.au eligibility rules
Eligibility rules refer to who can register names in a namespace.
Under the new licensing rules for org.au names, the definition of a not-for-profit entity has been tightened and no longer includes unincorporated associations which are not registered with Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC).
This change has been made to ensure the org.au namespace functions more clearly as the identifier of Australia’s not-for-profit sector.
To be eligible for an org.au name under the new licensing rules you must be a not-for-profit entity, which is defined as:
1. an Incorporated Association under State or Territory legislation;
2. a Company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001(Cth)
3. a Non-distributing co-operative registered under State or Territory legislation;
4. an Indigenous Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006(Cth) and which appears on the Register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations;
5. a Registered Organisation that is:
(a) an association of employers;
(b) an association of employees (union); or
(c) an enterprise association;
registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009(Cth) and which appears on the Register of Organisations;
6. a Charitable trust endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient;
7. a Non-trading cooperative under State or Territory legislation;
8. a Public or Private Ancillary Fund endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient;
9. an unincorporated association that appears on the Register of Charities established under the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission Act 2012(Cth);
10. a Political Party registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918(Cth) or State or Territory Electoral Act and which appears on the Register of Political Parties or as otherwise named; or
11. Government, being either the Crown or a Commonwealth, State or Territory statutory agency.
Who is affected by the change in eligibility rules?
This rule affects registrants of org.au names (such as some sporting and special interest clubs) which are unincorporated associations that are not on the Register of Charities established under the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission Act 2012(Cth);
What action is required
If you are affected by the rule change, you may wish to register a similar name in the asn.au namespace as your org.au name will not be able to renewed after the new rules commence.
Alternatively, consider another legal structure for your organisation that complies with the definition of a not-for-profit entity in the .au Licensing Rules.
Changes to the org.au allocation rules
Allocation rules determine what name you can register in a namespace and how it must relate to you as a registrant.
The rules around what org.au name you can choose have been broadened to allow for a wider range of names to be used by eligible org.au registrants.
Under the new licensing rules, a org.au name must be:
(a) a match or synonym of the name of:
i. a service that the Person provides;
ii. a program that the Person administers;
iii. an event that the Person registers or sponsors;
iv. an activity that the Person facilitates, teaches or trains;
v. premises which the Person operates;
vi. an occupation that its members practise;
b) and which that Person is providing at the time of the application; or
c) a match of the Person’s legal name, business or statutory name or the name of the unincorporated association; or
d) a acronym of the Person’s legal name, business name, or statutory name; or
e) a match of the Person’s Australian Trade Mark; or
f) a match to the name of a trust of which the Person is a trustee.
This rule replaces the ‘close and substantial connection’ rule in place in the previous set of auDA rules.
Who is affected by the change in allocation rules?
This rule applies to not-for-profit entities wishing to register, renew names in the org.au namespace.