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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 401f. Updated Friday, 21 March 2014

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Game on for new classifications laws

New laws which overhaul the National Classification Scheme's ability to assess large volumes of content such as mobile and online games have been introduced to Parliament.

Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan said the reforms were the first step in the process of ensuring the classification system continued to be effective and relevant.

The changes are based on recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission's review into the National Classification Scheme, and will be limited to the content currently regulated by that 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.

Reforms to update system

"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."

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 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.

Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers responsible for classification have agreed to reforms included in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Classification Tools and Other Measures) Bill 2014.

The new laws can be viewed at this PS News link.

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