Minister for Justice Michael Keenan today introduced legislation to reform the National Classification Scheme to identify opportunities for faster, more reliable and cost effective classification of large volumes of content such as mobile and online games.
“The Coalition Government is committed to providing consumers and industry with a modernised National Classification System that is better equipped to manage content in a rapidly changing, global and convergent media environment,” Mr Keenan said.
“These reforms are the first step in the process of ensuring our classification system continues to be effective and relevant in the 21st century.”
The reforms remove the need for reclassification when minor changes are made to computer games, such as software updates, bug fixes, or even when a new song is added to a karaoke game.
Films that were modified to play on the small screen of an aeroplane in-flight service, or movies changing from 2D to 3D, will no longer require reclassification. Festivals and cultural organisations like the ‘Australian Centre of the Moving Image’ and events such as ‘Tropfest’ will no longer be required to submit cumbersome applications to the Director of the Classification Board for a formal exemption before they screen material, so long as they satisfy criteria in the Classification Act.
The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Classification Tools and Other Measures) Bill 2014 amends the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 to implement a number of ‘first tranche’ reforms that were agreed to by Commonwealth, state and territory Ministers responsible for classification.
These ‘first tranche’ reforms are based on a number of recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review into the National Classification Scheme, and will be limited to the content currently regulated by the scheme.
“We need to improve the effectiveness of this scheme, enhance compliance with state and territory classification laws and provide more classification information, specifically to parents and young people,” Mr Keenan said.
“Ultimately we aim to deliver benefits to industry by reducing administrative red tape and the regulatory burden, whilst continuing to provide consumers with important classification information,” Mr Keenan said.