Restricted Access System

The Restricted Access System aims to limit the exposure of children and young people under 18 to pornography and other age-inappropriate online content.

eSafety ran two consultation processes in 2021 to help develop the Restricted Access Systems Declaration 2021. This consultation process is now closed. 

The first consultation phase involved a public call for submissions in relation to a number of questions set out in a discussion paper published in August 2021. Submissions closed on 12 September 2021. 

The second phase of the consultation process sought feedback on the draft instrument and explanatory statement. Submissions closed on 23 November 2021.

On this page you will find:

About Restricted Access Systems

A Restricted Access System (RAS) covers the kind of material that has been or is likely to be classified R18+ or Category 1 Restricted (‘Restricted Material’) under the National Classification Code.

This includes: 

  • realistically simulated sexual activity between adults 
  • high impact nudity 
  • high impact violence 
  • high impact drug use
  • high impact language.  

eSafety is required to have the Restricted Access System Declaration in place from January 2022, as outlined in the Online Safety Act 2021.

Services that will be obligated to meet the requirements of the RAS will include social media services, designated internet services and relevant electronic services that are providing access to material from Australia.

It will also apply to Australian hosting service providers, who will be required either to stop hosting the material or take reasonable steps to ensure access to Restricted Material is limited to adults.

Learn more about how eSafety deals with Restricted Material.

About the consultation process

eSafety invited submissions from the technology industry, advocacy groups and general public across two consultation processes in 2021, to help develop the Restricted Access Systems Declaration 2021.

eSafety released a Discussion Paper as part of its first consultation process, to inform the drafting of the new RAS Declaration. It outlined the policy considerations and included a list of questions to help focus submissions. The questions were a guide only and not intended to limit the scope of submissions.

eSafety received 31 submissions about the technology and policy requirements that respondents felt should be included in a restricted access system. The information gathered through the first consultation process was considered in the development of the Draft RAS Declaration and supporting explanatory statement. eSafety drafted a flexible instrument designed to meet the policy objective of limiting access of young people to age-inappropriate material, while allowing industry to implement systems that best suit their service in a flexible and proportionate way.

eSafety began its second consultation process in October 2021 when it released the Draft RAS Declaration and explanatory statement. Submissions closed on 23 November 2021.

The information gathered through the second submission process was used to refine the Draft RAS Declaration to ensure that the final Declaration met the policy objectives of the Online Safety Act, while not imposing unnecessary technological and financial burdens on industry.

Submissions for both consultation processes needed to specify:

  • the name of the individual or organisation making the submission
  • their contact details (such as a telephone number, postal address or email address).

A submitter may have claimed confidentiality over their name or content details or may have made a submission anonymously or through use of a pseudonym.
 

Draft RAS Declaration and explanatory statement submissions

eSafety invited submissions from the technology industry, advocacy groups and the general public on the Draft RAS Declaration and explanatory statement. This was the second consultation process.

There were no set questions asked in relation to the Draft RAS Declaration. eSafety sought the views of the technology industry, advocacy groups and the general public on any financial, technical or administrative burden that might occur as a result of the provisions of the Draft RAS Declaration.
 

Restricted Access System discussion paper submissions

The eSafety Commissioner invited submissions from the technology industry and the general public between 16 August and 12 September 2021, to inform the drafting of the new RAS Declaration. 

A Discussion Paper outlined the policy considerations and included a list of questions to help focus submissions. The questions were a guide only and not intended to limit the scope of submissions.

The information gathered through this consultation process is also being used to help inform the development of eSafety’s age verification implementation roadmap for online pornography.