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Domain names

How to register and manage government domain names

This guide explains the Australian Government policies on registration and administration of domain names used by the Australian, state, territory and local governments.

Why must I?

The gov.au Domain name policies apply to third-level domains at the Australian Government level (such as example.gov.au) and fourth-level domains at the state, territory and local government levels (such as example.act.gov.au).

Under the gov.au policy and governance framework, each jurisdiction may apply additional domain policies, standards and guidelines in assessing domain applications. The Australian Government domain name policy is applicable to Australian Government entities.

How do I?

Determine if a gov.au domain name should be used

Australian Government non-corporate Commonwealth entities must use a gov.au domain to support their websites. They do not use other non gov.au domain names, unless granted exemption. Other government bodies, such as corporate Commonwealth entities, may use a gov.au domain to support their websites and are encouraged to do so.

Choose a domain name

The Government domain names website facilitates the registration and management of gov.au domain names.

Before applying for a new domain name, you should first consider if your needs can be met using an existing domain name. Use of a sub-domain (for example program.agency.gov.au) or a sub-directory (for example agency.gov.au/program) of an existing agency or topic domain may present an opportunity to promote an existing subject matter website and provide additional context to the new website.

Sub-directories and sub-domains do not need to be registered. They can be set up by your service provider and do not prevent use of alternate ‘look-and-feel’ or functionality.

Registering a separate domain name may be preferable if:

The Domain name guidelines provide information about choosing a domain name.

Manage your domain name

When setting up a website on a domain, you should ensure that the website can be reached whether or not a user adds ‘www.’ at the front of the domain name when typing it into their browser. It is very common today for users to drop ‘www.’ from website addresses and agencies should accommodate this behaviour.

The Domain name guidelines provide information about managing your domain name.

Retire unused domain names

Prior to archiving or decommissioning a website, you should consider if and how the domain name should be retired.

The Domain name guidelines provide information about retiring your domain name.

Last updated: 26 March 2015