Each Australian State or Territory has its own namespace in the .au domain.
Names in these namespaces are often referred to as community geographic domain names (CGDNs). These names provide a simple and effective way for Australian communities to provide information about the area in which they live.
While the namespaces have been available since 2005, they’re not widely used with only around 140 names in total registered in them.
This is because the rules that set out who can register a State or Territory namespace and what name they can have (known as eligibility and allocation rules), have been quite narrow.
However, upcoming changes to the .au rules mean that more organisations will be able to benefit from a localised domain name.
New rules for the .au domain
On 12 April 2021, a new set of rules for the .au domain come into effect.
These new rules streamline our existing rules, aim to build confidence in .au, and help provide value to the Australian community of registrants and Internet users.
One of the key changes is expanding who can register in a State and Territory namespace and what domain name they can choose.
What’s changing for State and Territory namespaces
Currently, the State and Territory namespaces are only open to registered, non-profit organisations acting on behalf of a local community. These organisations can register the name of the locality where the community group resides - e.g. apollobay.vic.au, lobethal.sa.au. This will continue to be the case.
Under the new rules, peak State or Territory bodies will also be able to register names in the State and Territory namespaces.
This change provides these kinds of organisations an alternative to the org.au and asn.au namespaces with the added benefit of identifying the State or Territory in which they operate.
A peak State or Territory body is defined in the new rules as:
a) not for profit societies, associations or clubs, established for community service (but not political or lobbying) purposes;
b) not for profit societies, associations or clubs established for the encouragement of art, literature or music;
c) not for profit societies, associations or clubs established for the encouragement of animal racing or a game or a sport or recreational activity,
within that State or Territory.
Eligible peak bodies will be able to register names that are:
a) a match of their legal name, business name or statutory name; or
b) an acronym of their legal name, business name or statutory name; or
c) a match to their Australian Trade Mark.
State and Territory-based organisations are a vital part of Australian communities and these changes will provide more organisations an opportunity to benefit from a trusted and localised domain name.
To find out more about other changes coming to the .au in April, visit our website and look out for our other posts here on the .au blog.