Australia’s Classification System Is Finally Being Reviewed

The Federal Government has announced that the classification system in Australia, including the guidelines for the classification of video games, will formally be reviewed “to modernise it for different content and delivery platforms”.

Paul Fletcher, the minister of Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, announced in a release that the current chair of the Press Council and a former secretary of the Department of the Communications and the Arts would leave a review of the current classification guidelines.

“The current framework was established in the age of dial-up internet – well before the rise of the online streaming or gaming services we now use daily – so we will be looking at how to modernise it for different content and delivery platforms,” Fletcher said.

The terms of reference for the classification review include:

The review will cover:
1. Opportunities to harmonise the classification of, or restriction of access to, content across different delivery platforms including broadcasting services (commercial free to air, national broadcasting and subscription television), online stores and services, cinema releases, and physical product (e.g. boxed video games and DVDs).

2. The design of a contemporary Australian classification framework, including:

a. What content requires classification
b. Consistency of classification categories, standards and access restrictions across media formats
c. Classification decision-making processes, including mechanisms for review, and
d. Governance arrangements, including the suitability of the current cooperative scheme.

3. Opportunities to update classification decision-making standards, including a comprehensive review to update the National Classification Code, the Films Guidelines, and the Games Guidelines.

A report on the state of classification system will be delivered to the government by April next year. The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, representatives for the gaming industry in Australia, sent a short statement to Kotaku Australia welcoming the news.

“We obviously welcome the review and will have something more substantive to say when we see the discussion paper which is due for release 2020,” IGEA said.

More to come…

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