.au Domain Administration

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Type: Non-profit
Industry: Internet
Founded: 1997
Headquarters: 114 Cardigan Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Country: Australia
Website: auda.org.au
Blog: blog
Key People
Chris Disspain, Chief Executive Officer
Tony Staley, Chairman
Kim Heitman, Deputy Chairman
Stuart Benjamin, Director
Jordan Carter, Internet Governance and Policy Director

.au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) administers and manages the operations of the Australian .au ccTLD. It is a not-for-profit policy authority and self-regulating body endorsed by the Australian government. It was created in 2000.


Australian Domain Name Administration

The Australian Internet community realized that the responsibility of administering the .au ccTLD can no longer be handled by Mr. Elz alone, due to the increasing number of registrants, and decided to establish a private-sector self-regulatory body capable of administering the ccTLD. The new body would be more accountable to the community through the assistance of the Australian government.[1]

In 1997, the Australian Domain Name Administration (ADNA) was formed to ensure the operations of a functional Internet naming system in Australia for the .au domain. However,the ADNA Board eventually concluded that organization did not have the necessary authority to effectively operate and be accountable to the local Internet community. They decided to seek the assistance of the Australian National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) and the Ministry of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts to facilitate the development of an effective Internet industry self-regulatory body and to supervise the transfer of delegation for the administration of the .au domain space to the new organization.[1]


In 1999, the .au Domain Administration was created after the Australian government, through the NOIE, agreed to help in developing a self-regulatory body to assume the responsibilities of Mr. Elz to manage the .au ccTLD. Mr. Elz sub-delegated to auDA on November 15, 1999. In October 2000, .auDA submitted a comprehensive report that the organization met the objectives necessary to receive government endorsement to assume the responsibilities to manage the .au ccTLD. By December 2000, Sen. Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology, and the Arts formally endorsed auDA as the appropriate entity to administer of the .au ccTLD.[2]

Role of auDA

As the administrator and manager of the .au ccTLD, auDA performs the following functions:[3]

  • Develop and implement domain name policy
  • License 2LD registry operators
  • Accredit and license registrars
  • Implement consumer safeguards
  • Facilitate the .au Dispute Resolution Policy
  • Represent .au during ICANN meetings & activities as well as in other international Internet organizations


The .au ccTLD was established in 1986 and it was delegated to Robert Elz, a network programmer at the University of Melbourne. He served as manager of .au ccTLD in a volunteer capacity. During his management of the ccTLD, it underwent tremendous growth. As a result, eleven second-level domains were established under .au, which include asn.au, com.au, conf.au, csiro.au, edu.au, gov.au, id.au, info.au, net.au, org.au, and oz.au.[1]

The .au ccTLD is one of the top 10 largest country codes in the world, with more than 2.3 million registered domain names as of March 2011, which was up a 600% increase from 2002.[4][5]

A 2011 study by Deloitte found that the .au ccTLD contributed $475 million to the country's economy, 57% of that, or $269 million is directly related to the registration and hosting of the domains.[6]

.au Registry

AusRegistry Pty Ltd. was authorized by auDA to operate the open 2LDs: .com.au, .net.au, .id.au, .asn.au, and .org.au, as well as the government (.gov.au) and education (.edu.au) domain names until 2014.[7] The .au registry is composed of a database of domain names registered in each 2LD and a public WHOIS service.

.auDA and ICANN

On May 28, 2001, .auDA requested IANA to re-delegate the .au ccTLD to the organization, and subsequently, on June 18th, 2001, Chris Disspain, auDA's CEO, asked the Australian government through Senator Alston to communicate its endorsement to ICANN.[8]

On July 4, 2001, Senator Alston wrote to ICANN and formally confirmed the Australian government's endorsement of auDA as the new organization responsible for managing the .au ccTLD.[9]

On October 25, 2001, ICANN approved the redelegation of the .au ccTLD to .auDA under a sponsorship agreement.[10]

Its CEO, Chris Disspain has been the Council Chairman of ICANN's Country Code Names Supporting Organisation. In June 2011, Disspain became part of the ICANN Board.[11]

In July 2022, Jordan Carter joined auDA in the newly created role of Internet Governance and Policy Director.[12]


auDA is a member of the APTLD.

auDA Foundation

In 2005, auDA established the auDA Foundation, a charitable trust to promote and encourage education and research activities that will enhance the utility of the Internet for the benefit of the Australian community. The foundations objectives include:[13]

  1. Provision of open scholarships and prize funds to encourage and reward academic and applied excellence
  2. Funding of pure and applied research including academic positions and the publication of results for the benefit of the Australian community
  3. Funding of community demonstration projects and the publication of results for the benefit of the Australian community
  4. Funding of public education and awareness initiatives through all relevant mediums and institutions