The Senate Environment and Communications References Committee recommended that a successor to the Australian Interactive Games Fund be instigated, in the 'Future of Australia's video game development industry' report tabled today, Greens Communications Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said.
"Establishing a replacement for the AIGF will assist small independent studios to grow into flourishing ongoing enterprises. This is just one of the recommendations the report makes, but it's the most immediate step the government can take for this industry.
"There is not a Turnbull buzzword box that the games industry does not tick. These are some of the creative industry jobs of the 21st Century. The Liberal party should overturn the short-sighted decision to axe the original AIGF.
"Government should do all it can to give the industry a jump start, in the form of grants, low-interest loans and tax offsets to foster the growth of a local industry, and to ensure that local talent stays local.
"In this partisan and politically charged environment, and in an election year, the fact that this is a consensus report says a great deal about the quality of evidence presented, the good faith that both witnesses and senators brought to the proceedings, and the clarity of the conclusions the process reached.
"We'll be taking these recommendations forward after the election, and we hope the Labor and Liberal parties do as well. The opportunity for Australia to establish itself as a global leader in this industry is not going to last forever," Senator Ludlam concluded.
The recommendations of the report were as follows:
1. The committee recommends that the Australian Government introduce a funding scheme based on the former Australian Interactive Games Fund.
2. The committee recommends the introduction of a refundable tax offset for Australian expenditure in the development of game titles. A review of the operation of the offset should be undertaken at least two years after the offset commences.
3. The committee recommends that the Australian Government encourage, and contribute financial assistance for, the creation of shared working spaces modelled on The Arcade in other locations. This support should be contingent on co-funding provided by a state government and further evidence that the state government supports the growth of a video game development industry in its state. The committee further recommends that the Australian Government consider the viability of establishing an innovation hub for video game development and other technology startups in a regional centre.
4. To encourage the further uptake of 'serious games' in health care, education and other sectors, and production of these games by the Australian video game development industry, the committee recommends that the Australian Government facilitate dialogue between video game industry associations and groups that use, or could potentially use, serious games.
5. The committee recommends that the Australian Government consider the tax implication of crowd-sourced funding for startups, including whether temporary tax relief should be available for income that new businesses gain from crowd-sourced funding.
6. The committee recommends that the Australian Government develop a discussion paper and consult on the utility of the Export Market Development Grants scheme for businesses that operate in the digital economy.
7. When considering and reviewing measures to support the industry, the committee recommends that the Australian Government take into account whether the industry is improving the diversity of its workforce and is providing fair employment conditions.
8. The committee recommends that the Australian Government commit to rolling out 21st century broadband infrastructure.
The full report can be viewed here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Video_game_industry/~/media/Committees/ec_ctte/Video_game_industry/report.pdf