Here’s something not on anyone’s 2020 bingo card: A senator from the Federal Government calling for a 30 per cent tax offset for Australian video game development.
The local gaming industry has lobbied for federal tax breaks since the closure of the Australian Interactive Games Fund, a highly successful federal program that supported Australian development with investment and ongoing grants.
Most support for video games as a business in Australia is done at the state level, particularly in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. But a government senator, Senator James McGrath, is now calling on the government to provide federal tax offsets for video game development nationwide.
In a short speech last night, Senator McGrath quoted the resilience of the local games industry throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Along with the popularity of video games generally, the Queensland senator cited the success of Big Ant’s sports games and Fruit Ninja as examples of games being highly successful exports.
“Something Australia should do, and I strongly support, is to introduce 30 per cent tax offset for video games to grow a new information-based export industry, attract millions in foreign investment and create thousands of jobs,” Senator McGrath said.
— Senator James McGrath (@SenatorMcGrath) September 2, 2020
The senator quoted Singapore, France, Canada and the United Kingdom’s tax offsets for video game development. He compared that to the support Australia provides to the film and creative industries — and that Australia doesn’t, and hasn’t for years, thought of games in the same way.
McGrath’s support isn’t likely to move the needle too much politically, but Canberra has a way of surprising you sometimes. The government took everyone aback when they announced their support for an inquiry into microtransactions and loot boxes — even though their response was disappointing at best.