The Government wants public input on a plan to expand the eSafety Commissioner’s powers. 

An issues paper has been released as part of an independent review looking at enhanced enforcement capabilities and more stringent penalties for non-compliance.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland says Australia's online safety laws must adapt to keep pace with technological advances and emerging online threats. 

The review, led by senior public servant Delia Rickard, seeks to address online hate speech, cyberbullying tactics like ‘pile-ons’, and the malicious use of technology, such as deepfakes and non-consensual sharing of intimate images.

The current fines for non-compliance, which can reach up to $782,500 for companies and $156,500 for individuals per day, may be increased to align with more severe penalties in jurisdictions like Ireland and the UK. 

These countries can impose fines up to 10 per cent of a platform's annual global turnover.

This push for reform comes in the context of a high-profile legal confrontation between eSafety and the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), over the platform's handling of violent content.

 X has vowed to contest an order from eSafety to remove footage of the stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, which the platform argues is an overreach of the current laws.

“Our laws... are not set-and-forget. [We need] to ensure these laws remain responsive to the rapidly changing digital environment,” Rowland says. 

The issues paper does not lay out specific recommendations but opens up several critical areas for public discussion.

These discussions will cover a spectrum of online content not currently under regulation and explore the need for new powers to mitigate harms. 

The paper suggests potential areas for expansion could include anonymous complaints processes similar to those used for cyberbullying, to address hate speech and online pile-ons.

The government is also exploring the development of age verification technologies to restrict child access to adult content.

For more information on the review, or to make a submission, visit