What you need to know

From 24 March 2022, persons or companies with Australian Presence will be able to register domain names in the <.au> direct namespace. These short domain names will not have additional descriptors, such as <com>, <net> or <org>. Therefore, you will be able to register <yourbrand.au> or <yourcompanyname.au> domain names (Short Domains).

For a limited period, Short Domains that are exact matches to the existing Australian domain names (for example, <.com.au>, <.net.au> and <gov.au>) will be available to their holders on a priority basis.

The remaining Short Domains will be available to eligible applicants on a ‘first come first serve’ basis.

These rules are briefly summarised below.

Eligibility: Australian Presence

In order to be eligible to hold an Australian domain name (whether it is a traditional <.com.au>, <.net.au> or <gov.au> domain name or a Short Domain), a person / company must satisfy the ‘Australian Presence’ eligibility requirement.

Companies registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and Australian citizens or permanent residents automatically satisfy this requirement.

Foreign companies and persons can satisfy this requirement if their domain name is an exact match of the words within their registered or pending Australian trade mark. For example, a pending/registered Australian trade mark BEST EVER BRAND would serve as a basis to register a Short Domain <besteverbrand.au> (but not <bestbrand.au> or <bestever.au>).

There are other 15 categories of Australian Presence available for applicants such as the Government, Commonwealth entities, ABN holders, charities, partnerships and trusts. 


From 24 March until 20 September 2022, holders of existing Australian domain names will be able to register the same Short Domains on a priority basis. For example, during this period the Short Domain <besteverbrand.au> will be reserved for the holder of the domain name <besteverbrand.com.au> or <besteverbrand.net.au> and not available to the general public.

This priority system is two-tiered: Category 1 applicants (holders of Australian domain names registered before 5 February 2018) will take priority over Category 2 applicants (holders of Australian domain names registered on or after 5 February 2018 and before 24 March 2022).

A simplified chart summarising other potential Short Domain registration scenarios is set out below.

Priority Category  Application  Registration Outcome 
Categories 1 and 2  Multiple applications 

Category 1 

Category 1  No application 

Defaults to Category 2 

Defaults to general public where no Category 2 

Single application 

Category 1 

Multiple applications 

Must negotiate an agreement who in Category 1 will register 

Category 2  No application 

Defaults to general public 

Single application 

Category 2 

Multiple applications 

Earliest Category 2 


What you need to do

If you would like to register a new Short Domain or take the benefit of the priority period to register a Short Domain that is the same as your existing domain name, it may be a good idea to:

  • check whether you satisfy the Australian Presence requirement (including in relation to your currently held domain names);
  • where necessary, update the WhoIs information in relation to your existing domain names to ensure that it accords with the domain name licensing rules; and
  • conduct third-party WhoIs searches to determine whether there are other existing domain names that may potentially take priority when registering a corresponding Short Domain.

We would be happy to assist you with the above steps – please reach out to the authors, or your usual Norton Rose Fulbright contact.



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