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Overview

Functions and responsibilities

The functions of the eSafety Commissioner are set out in section 15 of the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (EOS Act) and accompanying legislative rules.

In accordance with the legislation, eSafety’s specific responsibilities include:

  • administering a cyberbullying complaints scheme for serious cyberbullying material that targets an Australian child
  • administering the Online Content Scheme for the removal of prohibited or potentially prohibited internet content, in accordance with schedules 5 and 7 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA)
  • administering a complaints and objections system for non-consensual sharing of intimate images (otherwise known as image-based abuse)
  • issuing notices to content services and hosting services about abhorrent violent material available on their services via amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1995
  • coordinating activities of Commonwealth departments, authorities and agencies relating to online safety for children
  • supporting, encouraging, conducting, accrediting and evaluating educational, promotional and community awareness programs that are relevant to online safety
  • supporting, encouraging, conducting and evaluating research about online safety
  • advising the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts about online safety
  • promoting online safety for people at risk of family or domestic violence including the risks of using technology
  • supporting, encouraging and conducting educational, promotional, training and community awareness programs that are relevant to online safety for people at risk of family or domestic violence.

In 2019, the Commissioner was given a new function through the Enhancing Online Safety (Protecting Australians from Terrorist or Violent Criminal Material) Legislative Rule 2019:

  • promoting online safety for Australians by protecting Australians from access or exposure to material that promotes, incites, or instructs in, terrorist acts or violent crimes.

Corporate structure

The EOS Act establishes the eSafety Commissioner as an independent statutory office holder, supported by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The ACMA provides corporate support services and staff to fulfil the functions of eSafety under section 67 of the EOS Act. These staff are not under the direction of the ACMA; however, they are employed under the terms of the ACMA Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020.

In April 2020, eSafety strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of Ms Rebecca Razavi as the Chief Operating Officer.

In 2019–20, eSafety was staffed by the Commissioner, had an average staffing level of 57.35 staff and a number of contractors. Staff were located in the ACMA’s Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra offices.

Figure 2.1 Office of the eSafety Commissioner corporate structure, as at 30 June 2020 Office of the eSafety Commissioner corporate structure, as at 30 June 2020

The Commissioner

Julie Inman Grant
Julie Inman Grant was appointed as eSafety Commissioner on 23 November 2016 and she began in the role in January 2017.

Ms Inman Grant has extensive experience in the non-profit and government sectors and spent two decades working in senior public policy and safety roles in the tech industry at Microsoft, Twitter and Adobe.

The Commissioner’s career began in Washington DC, working in the US Congress and the non-profit sector before taking on a role at Microsoft. Ms Inman Grant’s experience at Microsoft spanned 17 years, serving as one of the company’s first and longest-standing government relations professionals, ultimately in the role of Global Safety Director for safety policy and outreach. At Twitter, she set up and drove the company’s policy, safety and philanthropy programs across Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

As Commissioner, Ms Inman Grant plays an important global role as Chair of the Child Dignity Alliance’s Technical Working Group and as a Board Member of the WePROTECT Global Alliance. She was designated one of Australia’s most influential women by the Australian Financial Review in 2019.