The local Australian games industry is in the process of recovering, but with the Coalition shutting down the Interactive Media Fund in its very first budget, it's had little to no assistance from the Australian Federal Government. Senator Scott Ludlam is none-too-happy about that.
In a motion in parliament yesterday, Scott Ludlam referred the current state of the Australia games industry to the Environment and Communications References Committee. The goal: figure out how regulatory and taxation frameworks can best facilitate growth in the Australian games industry, which has suffered major losses over the last decade, and significant brain drain as local developers migrate overseas.
A suggested focus for the committee: an investigation into the decision to close the Australian Interactive Games Fund — $10 million per year in total — which adversely affected a number of local burgeoning studios in Australia.
Ludlam's argument: Canada has seen massive growth in the video game space thanks to favourable tax breaks, so why not Australia? Why can't Australia be a home for major video game publishers to set up shop?
If Ludlam has his way, the committee will report back on April 2016.
But the Environment and Communications References Committee has to decide whether Ludlam's motion is worth investigating. What are the chances of that actually happening? It's difficult to tell. The committee itself is actually fairly balanced, with members of the Liberals, Labor and the Greens making up the membership. The committee is chaired by Anne Urquhart, a senator from Tasmania who recently co-sponsored a bill that would legalise medicinal marijuana. Does this reflect on whether or not she might be in favour of an investigation in the games industry? Probably not, but it is reflective of her general politics, which would appear to be progressive.
Time will tell.