CANBERRA – Australia’s growing games industry knows about competing and winning. It is in its DNA.
Now Liberal MP Dan Tehan has proposed the local industry, which produced the international successes Crossy Road and Fruit Ninja, join the film and television industry in vying for already available commonwealth support and incentives.
In a blog for The Huffington Post Australia, Tehan has suggested the film and TV rebate scheme be modernised to capture the games industry.
“An industry that is as innovative and expansive as games needs to be a core part of our economic vision,” he wrote.
“We should use the opportunity of the tax reform white paper to address these barriers to growth in the industry.”
He has told HuffPost AU that success will breed more success, while backing legalisation to remove obstacles for crowd sourced equity funding in Australia, something already being considered by the Coalition Government.
“A complementary regulatory environment would give our games industry an advantage in a competitive global environment,” Tehan writes.
“With a new emphasis on innovation and the need to invest in Australia’s economic strengths, there are few that fit the bill like games,” Tehan wrote.
The Member for Wannon has praised the multi-billion dollar games industry for “thriving without government support.”
“Bigger than watching movies, bigger than sitting in front of the TV, bigger than listening to music, the games industry in Australia is now worth $2.43 billion every year,” he writes.
“Only when you include live performances, news and documentaries to create a total of $2.87 billion, do the other entertainment industries stack up larger than games.”
Tehan has proposed a shift in thinking for Australia’s entertainment industry, in line with the Turnbull Government’s focus on start-up and innovation.
“We should be looking to harness the love of today’s gamers to create the jobs of tomorrow.” he said.
He said the film and TV industry has financial incentives – a 30 per cent Location Tax Offset or a 16.5 per cent Film Producer Offset - which the games industry could also have access to.
“Often these offsets aren’t claimed by small movie studios producing local content but by multibillion dollar operations looking to cash in on the glitter and glamour they can bring to Australia,” he wrote.
“The government will spend nearly $1 billion on film offsets alone to have the industry presence in Australia.”
And he suggests there are potentially wider benefits beyond producing new and better games.
“Unlike the film and television industries, games development skills can be applied across many different sectors.”
“Gamification and software development are now an intrinsic part of many businesses from defence to medical research, recruitment to engineering.”
In closing, he has invoked cross-Tasman competition, saying our Kiwi cousins are already going down the right track.
“In New Zealand, the support of the games industry has been delivered through a start-up hub that supports entrepreneurs who have ideas to develop.”
“In addition to this, legalising crowdfunding for equity has meant greater access for investment for games developers.”