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AGs mull fate of hard-core gaming in Oz

Canberra could be R18+ gamer haven

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Australia’s gaming industry may be rewarded with a more sophisticated classification system following a meeting with state and territory attorneys-generals today in Adelaide.

The prolonged discussions over changes to gaming classification are causing agitation within the industry, which is forced to ban games tagged with a rating higher than MA15+, and state governments, who are frustrated at the national impasse.

Under present legislation, an R18+ classification for computer games can be introduced only with the agreement of all Commonwealth, State and Territory ministers.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said today that he is investigating the introduction of an R18+ rating for games in the nation’s capital, should a national agreement fail to be negotiated.

Corbell has been a strong advocate for reform in this area and is strongly pushing for a ratings system that is consistent with international standards.

A spokesman for the ACT Attorney-General’s office told The Register that its would not be as easy as simply passing a law to get an R18+ classification in place. “We need to go through a number of channels through the Commonwealth to investigate our options,” he said. It would also be timely exercise.

"The (R18+) rating will bring computer games into line with film and literature in Australia and will give guidance to parents and young people about the suitability or otherwise of the material. It will also help address the black market that exists in the R18+ material," Corbell said. A number of states such as Tasmania have already backed the plan, but others are yet to confirm their stance.

The Federal Government announced in March that it would review the National Classification Scheme for the first time in 20 years. ®

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