The Federal Government has finally understood the value of investing in video games, but Australia’s largest state — New South Wales — is still well behind the 8-ball. However, some new comments from the state’s Arts minister indicate that might be about to change.
In a transcript posted online by IGEA, the lobbyists representing the video game industry in Australia, NSW’s Arts Minister was asked in Parliament yesterday why NSW was lagging so far behind Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and now the Federal Government when it came to video game support.
It’s a fair question: NSW has a huge cache of STEM students that could or would be captured by video game development or adjacent industries, and a lot of the tech used by the film industry (which gets a lot of support in NSW) is now directly related to, or directly from, video games.
Fortunately, Arts Minister Don Harwin had a very interesting response. “This will help to drive investment and jobs in a highly skilled esctor in Australia where there is a significant crossover with the screen industry,” Minister Harwin said in Parliament.
“I expect to have something to say on this matter very shortly,” the minister added.
The whole quote, which includes the interesting line “it is the signal we have been waiting for”, is interesting on a whole bunch of levels. Why was the NSW Government waiting for a signal from the Federal Government in the first place? And if they’ve been waiting all this time, then what plans were in the works? The state already offers a 10 percent tax rebate on production work for the film industry through Screen NSW, and if this was extended to video games, game studios could potentially access a 40 percent rebate on their production just by being based in Sydney. (There’s also more than one rebate available, but the eligibility requirements are pretty similar to what the Federal Government proposed where applicants have to spend at least $500,000 on a project.)
Either way, whatever NSW has planned, we’ll keep you posted as soon as we know more.