As 2023 draws to a close, there are many milestones to reflect on and celebrate, made possible through the efforts, engagement and support of our registry operator, registrars and broader multi-stakeholder community. Journey with us through the highlights of 2023 as Team auDA championed the .au and an open, free, secure and global internet.
January – auDA Foundation community grants
In January, we announced the recipients of the 2022 auDA Foundation community grants program. The 15 projects included digital storytelling for First Nations youth, online educational resources for rural, regional and remote and First Nations primary school students, and a telehealth trial to help preserve vision for glaucoma patients.
February – Security best practice
In February, auDA achieved recertification of ISO 27001, the international best practice standard for information security. Security at auDA is a year-round practice that includes testing our physical and network defences, planning for incident responses, training our staff, and engaging with industry and government on best practices. This helps us deliver a stable, secure and reliable .au for all Australians.
March – One year of .au direct
March 2023 marked one year since the launch of .au direct, Australia’s newest namespace. We’ve seen strong community interest in .au direct domain names, with .au direct becoming the second most popular namespace in .au. We’re proud .au direct has delivered value and new opportunities for Australians to build their online presence.
April – Selected as host of the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF)
In April, auDA was delighted to be selected as host of the 2023 APrIGF. The announcement kick-started months of planning in partnership with the APrIGF Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group and Secretariat, supported by dotAsia, to prepare for the August event.
May – Why .au?
In May, auDA released its Why .au? Australia’s trusted .au domain report. Developed as a resource to support consumers and small businesses discover the value of .au, the report shows that three of four Australian consumers are more likely to trust a business website if it ends in .au. Australian small businesses also favour .au, with three of four choosing it as the primary domain for their websites.
June – Advancing reconciliation, release of the .au member Statement of Purpose and enhancing integrity in .au
auDA progressed its first draft Reconciliation Action Plan, exploring how we can contribute to reconciliation. We continue to refine the draft, including through feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, before we formally submit it to Reconciliation Australia in 2024.
In June, we also released our .au member Statement of Purpose, developed in consultation with members, who play an important role in auDA’s multi-stakeholder community. Our members enhance our understanding of Australians’ online needs and provide input to auDA policies and strategy. The statement serves as a helpful reference point for new members.
auDA works hard to ensure the integrity of the .au year-round. At the end of the financial year, the team had completed a massive 10,400 audits of .au domain name registrations to assess compliance with the .au Licensing Rules and 2,200 DNS audits to mitigate online harm on the .au.
July – auDA’s inaugural Public Policy Agenda
auDA’s inaugural Public Policy Agenda, released in July, sets out issues central to our policy and advocacy activity. Our public policy priorities are guided by auDA’s purpose to deliver a trusted .au and champion an open, free, secure and global internet. Through our public policy work we aim to help foster an empowering and secure digital environment that puts people first.
August – APrIGF comes to Brisbane, protecting critical infrastructure and .au registry operator appointed
auDA was proud to host the 2023 APrIGF in August. The event took place online and in Brisbane with more 1250 attendees from 68 countries. The forum provided participants an opportunity to share their voices on key topics related to the internet. Our internet governance work continued with the release of our Internet Governance Roadmap, which sets out proposed action to sustain the multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance.
This year, critical infrastructure providers were required to produce a Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Program (CIRMP) under the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 (Cth). auDA’s inaugural CIRMP was approved by the auDA Board in August, setting out the ways we manage risk and mitigate threats to ensure the stable, secure and reliable operation of the .au DNS.
Following a global tender process, in August, auDA announced the reappointment of Identity Digital Australia Pty Ltd as the .au registry operator. We look forward to continuing to work with Identity Digital to deliver a trusted .au for Australians.
September – Multi-stakeholder engagement
auDA consistently and actively engages with our multi-stakeholder community locally and internationally. In addition to those throughout the year, in September we attended the 84th meeting of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD84), which supports information sharing for domain organisations in Asia Pacific. We also sponsored the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), Communications Consumer Congress, to support inclusive communications services for Australians, and the DNS Operations, Analysis and Research Center workshop, to improve the security, stability and understanding of the DNS.
October – 2023 Registrar Summit, consultation on .au rules and the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
In October, we hosted auDA accredited registrars at our annual Registrar Summit. Registrars play a vital role in supporting a trusted .au and providing .au domain name services to registrants. The summit provided a platform for discussion on key topics including DNS abuse, security and compliance activity.
During the month, we also opened consultation on proposed minor administrative amendments to the .au Licensing Rules, to enhance the operation of the rules. As part of our commitment to the multi-stakeholder approach, we sought feedback from the public.
An auDA delegation travelled to the global IGF in Kyoto, Japan in October, where we contributed to panel discussions and workshops on multi-stakeholder internet governance, the Global Digital Compact and mitigating internet fragmentation.
November – Digital Lives of Australians 2023: Readiness for emerging technologies report
We published our third report in our Digital Lives of Australians research series in November. The Digital Lives of Australians 2023: Readiness for emerging technologies report explores the attitudes towards and take-up of emerging technology by Australian consumers and small businesses. The research aims to identify opportunities to improve how Australians benefit from the internet and encourage action among industry, business and government.
December – Atlas of Australia Online and a year in .au membership
In December, we published the Digital Atlas of Australia Online 2023 report. The report, developed in partnership with CSIRO’s Data61 and the University of Technology Sydney, demonstrates .au domain name registrations are a leading indicator of innovation and economic activity.
Our final .au member event of the year took place in Melbourne in December, taking the total number of events and workshops hosted or sponsored in 2023 to 29. Our expanded member program included events across metro and regional Australia, presentations to university students, cyber security workshops and more. The team are already planning another jam-packed .au member agenda in 2024 for our 4,700 strong .au member base.
From the auDA team, we look forward to engaging with our members and stakeholders and continuing to deliver a trusted and secure .au for Australians in 2024 and beyond.