Last week we reported that Senator Scott Ludlum made a motion in parliament, requesting that an inquiry be made into the state of the Australian games industry. Today the Greens announced that the request was successful.
Ludlam had asked that the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications investigate why Australia — as opposed to other countries like Canada — had experienced contraction when video games are a growth industry, making specific reference to the removal of the Interactive Games Fund — $10 million dollars removed from the hands of local industry without consultation by the Abbott government.
"Five years ago, Australia had a bourgeoning video game development sector employing thousands of talented people in this rapidly growing industry," said Senator Scott Ludlam.
"Internationally, companies have experienced strong growth thanks to smart government support and favourable regulatory settings.
"In Australia, no such luck: the sector has been treated like the poor cousin of the creative industries, culminating in the Abbott Government’s decision to close the $20 million Australian Interactive Games Fund, just 12 months after it was established.
"This inquiry will help establish what the government should be doing to support Australia’s games industry and the employment, economic and creative benefits it delivers to the nation.
"The inquiry will begin accepting submissions in the coming days, with public hearings to be held in the near future. I look forward to working with the Committee to do what we can to help get the industry back on its feet."
Could it be too little too late? In a sense the Australian industry is in the process of getting back on its feet, but certain tax breaks might encourage major publishers to start operating in Australia again. Is that what the industry needs? It certainly can't hurt.
The committee is due to report back in April 2016. A call for submissions and public hearings will be announced "shortly".