The Digital Games Tax Offset, which will allow Australian games developers access to a 30% rebate on projects costing up to $500,000, has been officially introduced to Parliament. It now begins the final part of its journey into law.
We wrote about the Digital Games Tax Offset, or DGTO, last year when it was first unveiled by the Morisson Government. Since then, the DGTO has had a long road to travel. At the time, it seemed like an unexpectedly solid election pitch from a Liberal National Government that had historically held little interest in the local games industry. Things went quiet for the offset as the election campaign wore on, and remained quiet after Anthony Albanese’s Labor Government claimed victory. Today, Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No. 4) Bill 2022, which contains the DGTO, was introduced to Parliament.
The DGTO today received its first reading in the House of Representatives. Its second reading was moved to an unknown date, and the debate on it adjourned for now. It will remain, for the time being, before the House of Reps. I know, that sounds like nothing at all. However, in political terms, this is a huge leap forward for the DGTO. Indeed, there is nothing to suggest that the bill will do anything other than sail through both houses of Parliament.
If it makes it through both houses of Parliament unscathed (and, again, it should), the Digital Games Tax Offset will become one of the largest game development incentives in the world. It will follow other incentives, like Screen Australia’s Games: Expansion Pack program into law, becoming part of a larger, better deal that will help expand the design ambitions of game devs here at home. Indeed, spurred by further state elections, governments around the country have begun introducing bigger and better incentive packages over the last year. In April, Queensland introduced one of the nation’s most attractive packages, continuing several years of positive expansion in the sector. New South Wales began introducing new games funding initiatives last year to compete with those on offer in Victoria. Not to be outdone, and facing a state election of its own, Victoria’s Andrews government announced a new set of Vicscreen initiatives at PAX Aus in October.
The IGEA was delighted by today’s events. “By backing and introducing the legislation into Parliament, the Albanese Government has provided certainty and growth opportunities for our highly creative and technically skilled industry,” said IGEA CEO Ron Curry in a statement. “The Australian game development sector has embraced this opportunity. The job creation, revenue growth and international investment in game development will further cement and enhance Australia’s reputation for delivering quality content internationally. In particular, it will create a new generation of creative 21st century Aussie tech workers.”
We’ll follow the bill’s progress and update you as it makes its way through the House of Reps and the Senate.
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