Greens Senator Scott Ludlam Wants To Help Grow The Australian Games Industry

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.


Comments

    A suggested focus for the committee: an investigation into the decision to close the Australian Interactive Games Fund No. Don't let it devolve into a bunch of juvenile finger pointing and just another blame/shame pawn for one side saying how bad the other side is.
    This can only be useful if it provides evidence of long term gains that exceed the value of the initial investment, then it's a no-brainer.

      Someone ban this comment. It's rational and objective. It has no place on Kotaku.

    Man, every time I see this guy he's doing good things for the country in general, always questioning things that need questioning. Please just replace Abbott with him asap

      Booooo you and your political opinion!

    It fepends whether other MPs and senators see the video game industry as something they want to be seen as being connected to or not. The fact that it's a larger industry than Hollywood means nothing to people who don't understand it but yet the Federal Govt put at least $21.5 million (from ABC News) and the QLD Govt offered tax incentives to have Pirates of the Caribbean 5 to be filmed in QLD. That's more than double of the Games Fund spent on ONE film.

    The fact is that there's still a social stigma (in Australia anyway) attached to games and it's seen as childish, immature and not worthy of serious discussion despite the fact it's a multi billion dollar industry. Senator Ludlum is one of the very few people in politics who seems to give reasonable thought and discussion to our industry. I sincerely hope others will be open to that discussion, but I'm not holding my breath

    Scott Ludlam is never happy.... What's new.

    Oh his answer is another gab fest and "its all your fault" session where they get paid an extra bit of coin to attend.

    Last edited 19/06/15 10:45 am

      Gotta agree. The Greens ask some solid questions, but it's easy to ask questions and not be counted on delivering solutions when you're not a majority party :B

        Least people are asking questions rather than blaming everything on terrorism, previous government and noisy windfarms.

          Yeah maybe they can have a big sit down like that 2020 summit which achieved....... sweet fuck all....

            You can't expect too much from the watermelons. It's pretty hard to perform when your brain is hard wired into thinking anyone opposing your opinion is a racist/sexist/bigot.

              Looks like I've offended the usual SJW unicorn fart powered Greens supporters as usual...

                Always nice to see maturity and respect shown towards other people's opinions in the comments section

                  Obviously why I stand at -3 on my original opinion.....

                  Last edited 19/06/15 2:29 pm

                  @mypetmonkey seriously? I got downvoted too, but I appreciate some people will agree with me and some, like yourself, will disagree. Didn't have any desire to start namecalling afterwards though.

                  Right... Only name calling of "certain" people.... Sorry I forgot its group think or none at all these days.

                  @mypetmonkey what does that even mean? I don't see anyone arguing against you and taking the same kind of line of belittling and name calling, but that's beside the point. All I did was pull you up on a comment that only served to belittle other people rather than add any kind of intelligent points to the conversation. Your turning it into some kind of selective criticism is just a means to avoid any ownership of your insolence. Just try to show more respect to people who think differently to you is all I'm asking.

          Questions don't mean bugger all without actions, and progression. Sitting around philosophising about what we should and could do without a clear plan on how to do it is pointless. Ask the current government, the previous government and every prick in opposition for the past 2 decades. This isn't about one party versus the other, this is the FUNDAMENTAL problem with politics these days. It's all about pointing out why those in power are idiots and what they're not doing. Then those in power spend the whole time blaming the previous government, or pandering for votes to try and stay in office. Not actually progressing anything.

          /Rant

          Last edited 19/06/15 12:55 pm

            You want something to happen? Then vote a 3rd party or independant in.

            The "major two" only became the "major two" because people are brainwashed into thinking they *need* to vote for the other 2... the fact the Nationals lost *2* seats in NSW to Greens shows that voting in a 3rd party is very achievable if people are pushed enough.

            It's all fine and well to complain "X" party is worthless if people don't give "X" party the power to affect decisions. And remember once upon a time we technically only *had* one major party - the LIberals because everyone was convince that the Conservatives were the only one's who could and should run the nation. It wasn't until Labor got their act together and not only created a credible alternative but *also* convinced people that there was a better alternative.

            This still technically applies today. That's the best part about democracy there is technically always a better alternative. The problem is that it's just so ingrained in people to vote on party lines and swallow anything from their preferred team that very few even think or consider third options because you know... their all airy fairy and would be bad for the economy/country/etc.

              You make a great point, but I don't have faith in anyone I can vote for. So I'm kinda up shit creek :(

      He's never happy because there's nothing ever good coming out of the goddamn government. If it wasn't for him, the Data Retention Laws would have been much more severe than the law that was passed. He's picking a part the illogical from the logical when it comes to the government, and making them look like fools in the process.

    Good luck to him. Unfortunately he's up against 2 very technophobic parties with ass-backward leaders.

    I would love to see the greens get a shot in government for at least a term, they're glimmer of hope amongst the giant douches and turd sandwiches

    Wont happen until this government is kicked out...

    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?

    I wish I had his optimism, but the problem is the population, and how much tax revenue we bring in each year. Canada has 35.6 million people, while we only have 23.8 million. While it can be a small gap statistically, financially this can be a huge gap in revenue.

    My point is, even though Canada is funding 33.7% of Game Developers Salaries, we don't have that kind of money to stimulate growth in the industry and neither do they, especially with our penalty laws.

    There isn't much we can do, except hope that there's a complete reform with how our tax system works, and our laws effecting the private sector.

    As a local game developer of 10+ years in Australia. Losing that fund meant my last employer had to let me go earlier this year. Now I am moving OS to continue my career... There isn't much of an industry left here, it's either mobile or indy development. It's a shame, the government has dropped the ball on this one. I would be surprised if major developers would ever come back to Australia even if there were some major tax breaks. Maybe in another 5-10 years... who knows..

    Politicians are like my Grandparents (although I love my grandparents unlike and polie), scared of anything that involves new technology that hasn't been covered by the media in a positive way. Boycotts and actively puts down anything that has been covered by the media negatively. Totally believes that they still know best when they clearly don't know the first thing about the benefit of gaming and it's vast industry. I think most of them would be surprised to learn there's a thing called e-sports where people go play games as a serious competition...I'd bet the first thought most of them would have is a pac-man tournament. From the minor amount I know about politicians at the moment I've gathered they're just out of touch completely.

    Politician panders to special interest groups, wastes taxpayer money in the process - news at 11!

    There was a time when Australia *was* the computer manufacturing capital of the world, with the most advanced space launching facilities bar none.

    Then the government at the time asked the rest of the world what it should dedicate our national industry to. They said sheep and wheat, and we listened like the truly moronic bunch of deadshits we obviously aspired to be. I'll let you work out for yourselves which party was in power. It's not a hard guess.

    And nothing has changed since. We're still led by sycophants and mendicants,

    Here's a way to immediately identify if someone is a unpleasant person: : if they use “Social Justice Warrior” as a put down. Wanting minorities or women to have equality in society is not a negative. You are shitting on people for having basic human empathy for others, for christ’s sake.

      Couldn't agree more - shaming those who support almost universally desirable ends is the pinnacle of bigotry.

      This is also the reason why I still believe that GamerGate was the most idiotic thing to happen this millennium - even if feminists etc. can be over-the-top, their goals are certainly not wrong.

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