Communications minister 'fobs off' Australian games industry

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts has dismissed calls for a 40% rebate to assist game developers and the growth of the games industry in Australia. The proposed rebate, as outlined by the Game Developers' Association of Australia (GDAA), would see interactive electronic entertainment receive the same government support as other industries, such as film.

CEO of the GDAA Greg Bondar commented, "Unfortunately, the future growth of the industry is fundamentally dependent on government support. A government rebate will enable our industry to grow, compete on a global scale, employ more Australian talent and make a bigger contribution to our economy."

It has been estimated by the GDAA that if implemented, the rebate would lead to an additional $25 million in new investment into original Australian titles each year.

"We are continually encountering situations where large scale projects are being awarded overseas as they're able to provide a rebate incentive for companies to employ their services. Without the same sort of 'carrot' to dangle in their faces, we find that an enormous amount of business is being lost," Bondar added.

In a written response to the GDAA, The Hon. Helen Coonan outlined ways in which the Screen Media Support Package would indirectly benefit games developers, while admitting that the industry would not be illegible for any tax offsets. The GDAA has labeled her response as disheartening, backhanded and empty.

"We will now go to the streets and call for the support of all our members and the game developers and gamers themselves to get behind this initiatives. We have created an online petition and are asking everyone to phone, mail or email their local federal member of Parliament and the Minister Helen Coonan, to express their dissatisfaction that the industry has been repeatedly ignored by government. Let's hope that this makes the politicians listen and give our industry the support it so desperately needs," Bondar concluded.

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Chris Jager

PC World

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