IGEA has made a Submission to the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts for its Inquiry into Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions.
At the request of the Minister for Communications and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, the Committee is investigating a number of aspects of Australia’s creative and cultural sectors, including their economic benefits, non-economic benefits and employment opportunities, and how to grow them. The Committee will also consider the best mechanisms for ensuring cooperation and policy delivery by governments, the impact of COVID-19 and ways to support the creative and cultural sectors through innovation and the digital environment.
Our submission highlights the fact that despite video games comprising the world’s largest creative and cultural sector, the Australian video game development sector remains small and has not been allowed to achieve its full potential. We have argued that despite being a modern and tech-driven artform with an enormous $200+ billion global export market and the potential to create thousands of digital jobs for Australian creative practitioners, video game development is the only part of Australia’s arts sector that receives zero federal arts support. In fact, despite the Government investing $750 million into Australia’s creative and cultural industries each year (which we expect to rise to $1 billion in 2020-21 when COVID-related arts support is included), Australian game developers – who are often growing enterprises and small businesses that have been impacted by COVID – receive none of this investment.
As a result of this federal policy gap, the Australian video game development industry has been unable to achieve anywhere near its full potential and is less than a tenth of the size of either the UK or Canada’s game development industries, and is smaller in revenue than even New Zealand’s games industry.
In our submission we have continued our advocacy for two essential federal arts policies that are needed to grow our sector.
Recommendation 1: That screen tax offsets be provided for game development. We are asking that the Committee make a recommendation that the Government extend the Australian Screen Production Incentive to the production of video games, specifically by providing game developers with access to a 30% tax offset for video game development, similar to the current PDV offset for the Australian VFX and animation sectors.
Recommendation 2: That the Australian Interactive Games Fund be restored. We are also asking that the Committee make a recommendation that the Government restore the $20 million Australian Interactive Games Fund that was introduced in 2013 but cancelled without reason in 2014. This Committee previously made the same recommendation in 2017 as a part of its inquiry into the film and television sector, a recommendation that the Government has yet to respond to or implement