Politicians in Australia have made a power play using games developers: following months of lobbying from local developers for tax breaks on par with those offered in the likes of Canada, the opposition Labor party has promised to review state aid for studios should it win the upcoming election.
Australia will go to the polls on November 24th, and as part of Labor’s campaign Senator Stephen Conroy, the shadow minister for communications and information technology, has promised to establish a ‘high-level committee’ to review the Game Developers Association of Australia’s repeated pleas for a generous tax rebate, reports The Age.
In Australia, local film and television producers now get a 40 per cent tax rebate, but games studios get nothing. The GDAA wants the tax credits widened to include multimedia projects, akin to the rebates available to games studios in Quebec, Canada.
The move by Labor follows the current government’s minister for communications and information technology’s rejecting the GDAA’s request.
"We have been trying for years to get the Australian government to listen to us and recognise the significant contribution that our industry makes to the Australian economy and the potential we have for substantial growth in our industry if we were to benefit from the same sort of rebate as is offered to the Australian film industry," said GDAA CEO Greg Bondar, who met with Conroy and a number of Australian studio CEOs when the promise was made.
"We are thrilled that Senator Conroy is prepared, should Labor be elected to government, to take the time to assess our industry and give sound consideration to our call for a rebate. This is a positive step forward for our industry."
"We want the Government to take another look," added GDAA president Tom Crago. "This is exactly the type of industry they should be supporting in that it is high growth, highly skilled and almost entirely export focused. We also think it’s about time they recognised the contribution that video games makes to the broader cultural landscape in Australia."