Ed Husic demands government sorts out concerns over “.au” domain introduction “quick smart”

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Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Husic has demanded the federal government sort out concerns over the possible introduction of “.au” web domains “quick smart”, as the ongoing uncertainty is driving small businesses “nuts”.

In a speech in the House of Representatives on Monday, Husic drew the government’s attention to the unrest in the small business community around the possible introduction of the new domain structure.

He said the government should take note of these concerns and act to resolve these concerns as soon as possible.

“Not content that they’re stuffing up digital transformation in their own backyard, the government now want to affect the way in which some of their decisions impact on small businesses in this country,” Husic said.

Drawing on comments from SmartCompany readers, he highlighted concerns that if Australia was to introduce “.au” web domains, small businesses could face both disruption of their brands and potentially having to “fight it out” to claim the “.au” equivalents of their original “.com.au” addresses.

He said the possible introduction of the domains is an issue “looming on the horizon that is going to drive small business nuts”.

“SMEs do not have to have visited upon them the kind of calamity that we’ve seen in the federal Public Service when it comes to digital transformation and the way that tech issues are being managed,” he said.

The government-endorsed, self-regulatory body that oversees web domains, auDA, has been holding consultation over the past year about how the process would run if Australia rolled out a new structure of web domains.

AuDA has told SmartCompany it is continuing to welcome submissions from concerned parties about the issue.

But small businesses say their voices haven’t been heard in this consultation process, while SEO expert Jim Stewart has warned that there could be fairness issues with who gets to claim the new domain addresses if a pool of “contested” web addresses emerged as a result of the rollout.

The government is currently undertaking an inquiry into the management of “.au” domains and has taken submissions on issues including the introduction of the new addresses.

Public submissions on the issue closed on January 12 and the Department of Communications and the Arts says it will now consider the written submissions to create a report for Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, in the first part of this year.

SmartCompany has contacted Ed Husic for further comment, but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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