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eSafety Commissioner to enhance online safety for all Australians


Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister For Communications
Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Women

The Turnbull Government will enhance online safety for all Australians and provide clarity for reporting online safety issues following the passage of the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Amendment Bill 2017.

The bill will rename the eSafety Commissioner, previously known as the Children's eSafety Commissioner, allowing it to take responsibility for the online safety of all Australians.

The eSafety Commissioner will be tasked with delivering the Government's commitments to improve the digital confidence and skills of senior Australians, and establish a national online complaints mechanism where victims can report cases of intimate photos or videos being posted without consent (i.e. “image-based abuse”) and access support.

The changes will make it easier for the public to identify where they can seek assistance and advice on a range of online safety issues, including additional guidance for vulnerable Australian communities.

In addition, the Government is currently seeking feedback on implementing civil penalties for the non-consensual sharing of intimate images.

Submissions can be made through the Department of Communications and the Arts' ‘Have your say' website.

Since its establishment by the Turnbull Government in 2015, the eSafety Commissioner has:

  • Resolved more than 450 serious cyberbullying complaints;
  • Conducted over 19,000 investigations into illegal or offensive online content;
  • Educated more than 217,000 people via Virtual Classrooms and face-to-face presentations;
  • Launched its youth-focussed initiative ‘Rewrite Your Story', helping to raise awareness about its cyberbullying reporting function; and
  • Launched the eSafetyWomen site with resources and advice for women, and provided training to over 2,000 frontline professionals across every state and territory to help women

The new laws passed today will build on this success, and ensure that the eSafety Commissioner can enhance online safety for all Australians.

The amendments only relate to the general functions of the commissioner and do not relate to the cyberbullying complaints scheme, which addresses material that is targeted at Australian children.

For more information about the eSafety Commissioner visit: www.esafety.gov.au

Media contacts:
Fifield: Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au