New multi-stakeholder forum established to help shape Australia's internet future

Posted by Paul Szyndler on 8 August 2012

The first Australian Internet Governance Forum (auIGF) will be held at the Hotel Realm, Canberra on the 11 & 12 October.

The auIGF is based on a multi-stakeholder model established by the United Nations. It will bring government, industry and community members together in an open, apolitical forum, to discuss Internet-related policy issues, exchange ideas and best practices, and help shape the future of the Internet in Australia.

“The Internet was built with a spirit of openness, collaboration and accessibility”, said Chris Disspain, CEO of .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA). “In establishing the auIGF, we aim to embrace these principles and provide a mechanism to ensure Australians have a prominent and well-informed voice in Internet discussions.”

The first day of the Forum will enable attendees to participate in discussions with expert panellists on five main themes:

•    “The International Internet Governance Landscape” – Setting the global context for the auIGF - why international developments should matter to, and need the input of, the Australian community.

•    “Security” – securing Australia’s critical infrastructure, digital economy and end-users: challenges and opportunities.

•    “Openness” - Copyright in the online age, moving towards a workable compromise after iiNet and Optus TVNow

•    “Privacy” - The cases for and against compromising in “the cloud”

•    “Access and digital inclusion” – Internet for all: engaging regional and remote communities, users with disabilities and the socio-economically disadvantaged.

Day two of the forum will feature a number of interactive, community-led workshops, investigating specific Internet policy issues in greater depth.  

The auIGF is coordinated by a number of prominent industry stakeholders, including auDA, the Internet Industry Association (IIA), the Australian Communication Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the Australian chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-AU) and the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).  It also has the support of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) and corporate partners including Google, Facebook, AusRegistry and Maddocks.

 “The collaborative nature, timing and agenda of this forum is strongly supported by the IIA”, said Peter Lee CEO of IIA. ”Given the significant focus on issues such as security, privacy and convergence in a digital world, it’s important to facilitate open discussion of those issues with all stakeholders.”        

“Access to the Internet is essential for participation in today’s society across a range of areas including employment, community, education and access to services”, noted ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “The auIGF will be an excellent opportunity to share experiences and strategies aimed to promote digital inclusion, to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits of a connected society.”

“Given the importance of the Internet to the Australian economy, forums such as the auIGF are vital in facilitating policy discussions that promote the continued expansion and innovation of the Internet”, added Adrian Kinderis, CEO of AusRegistry. “The open, participatory, multi-stakeholder model has made the Internet a successful driver of social and economic growth and this is set to continue in Australia under the guidance of the auIGF.”

The outcomes of the auIGF will help influence domestic policy and decision-making and will be fed into international policy processes including the UN’s World Conference on International Telecommunications and the 2012 IGF in Baku, Azerbaijan.

"The IGF format has proven to be influential in global decision-making – both as a reference point and a repository of essential information that should be considered in policy-making processes” said Paul Wilson, Director-General of APNIC. “I invite all stakeholders to show their support for this model,  both through the auIGF and other national and regional initiatives that will feed into the global dialogue."

The auIGF website is now online – . The site provides more information on the event, and a range of tools and fora for community members to contribute their ideas, make suggestions, or organise their own workshops.  Registrations are open now.

Read the press release here.

Follow the auIGF on Twitter.