Government meets with Game Developers' Association of Australia and promises to review tax credits

Australian developers get another political pledge

The Australian Government’s Minister of the Arts and Sport has told the Game Developers’ Association of Australia that his party will review the possibility of creating a tax break for games production in the country if re-elected.

Senator George Brandis met with the CEO of the GDAA, Greg Bondar, and a delegation of local developers including the CEO of IR Gurus Mike Fegan and the CEO of Team Bondi, Martin Cooper.

At the meeting he said that, if the ruling Coalition government was re-elected into office he would initiate a review into the GDAA’s call for a 40 per cent tax rebate on games development.

In Australia movies and TV get rebates from the government but the GDAA has been lobbying throughout the year for the tax credits to be extended to games. Previously, the Australian Minister for Communications and Information Technology had rejected the GDAA’s request for the tax credits to be extended to games.

The country is currently in the midst of election campaigns, with the country going to the polls later this month – and both parties are courting the GDAA. The Labor opposition party had already promised to conduct its own review of the tax breaks should it be elected into government.

“We received a very position reception at the Sydney ministerial offices of Senator Brandis,” said GDAA CEO Bondar.

“Senator Brandis was most sympathetic to our concerns and also undertook to ensure that a review of GDAA’s call for a 40 per cent tax rebate for the games industry in Australia would be undertaken if the Coalition was returned to government."

Bondar added that he will be recommending to the GDAA and delegates at the organisation’s upcoming Game Connect: Asia Pacific 2007 event that a National Games Summit be held in Australia after the election to help strengthen ties between the Government and games industry and take advantage of "heightened awareness by both sides of the political fence of the important role that game developers play in the Australian economy".

He added: "I will also push for the establishment of a national GDAA Games Council to continue to lobby governments.

“I think our industry has come to the point where it now needs a unified approach to lobbying governments at both the national and international level about the economic, social and cultural benefits of the interactive entertainment (game development) industry. Unless we act now to enforce our legitimate right to be on an equal footing with the film industry game developers will continue to be sidelined by government."

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