New .au licensing rules contain changes to the org.au namespace

12/04/2021
New licensing rules mean that unincorporated associations will no longer be eligible to hold ‘org.au’ domain names unless they are a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC).  While most sporting organisations will be incorporated as a separate legal entity, some organisations may not be, and NSOs and SSOs should ensure that they and their member clubs and associations are aware of this change. 
 
 

When the new rules will apply to org.au

The new rules for org.au come into effect on 12 April 2021. org.au domain names 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 org.au eligibility rules – defining a not-for-profit

To be eligible to register an org.au domain name you must be a not-for-profit organisation. The definition of a not-for-profit organisation has been updated.

This definition now contains 11 categories of eligible organisations:

  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:
  6. (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;
  7. a Charitable trust endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient;
  8. a Non-trading cooperative under State or Territory legislation;
  9. a Public or Private Ancillary Fund endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient;
  10. an unincorporated association that appears on the Register of Charities established under the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission Act 2012(Cth);
  11. 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
  12. Government, being either the Crown or a Commonwealth, State or Territory statutory agency.

The following kinds of organisations are new to this definition:

  • Indigenous corporations;
  • Co-operatives;
  • Registered state and territory political parties; and
  • Government, being either the Crown or a Commonwealth, State or Territory statutory agency.

Unincorporated associations

Under the new rules unincorporated associations are not eligible to hold org.au names. The only exception is where an unincorporated association appears on the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission’s (ACNC) Register of Charities.

However, registrants of org.au names using an unincorporated association as the basis for their eligibility may be still eligible for their org.au name if they meet the definition of a not-for-profit a different way. 

Who is affected by this change?

Registrants of org.au names using an unincorporated association as the basis for their eligibility (except where that unincorporated association appears on the ACNC Register of Charities).

Further information about the changes here

Information reproduced from .au Domain Administration website
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