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Minister for Justice

Bill to streamline classification system passed

28 August 2014

Legislation for a faster, more reliable and cost effective classification of content such as mobile and online games was passed through Federal Parliament today.

The reforms deliver on the Coalition Government's commitment to have a modern National Classification Scheme to better handle ever-changing content in a dynamic media environment.

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Classification Tools and Other Measures) Act 2014 (Classification Act) 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 classification Ministers.

These 'first tranche reforms' are based on a number of recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission's review of the National Classification Scheme, and represents the first step towards a scheme that it is better equipped to meet the needs of industry and consumers in the digital age.

Other reforms include:

  • Removing the need for reclassification when minor changes are made to computer games, such as software updates or bug fixes;
  • 3D films will not require classification again when converted from 2D format or vice versa;
  • film festivals will no longer need permission from the Director of the Classification Board to screen unclassified films provided the organisers and the events have been accredited under the Classification Act; and
  • films that feature content about natural history or the social sciences (economics, geography, anthropology and linguistics) no longer need to be classified.

These reforms will deliver benefits to industry by reducing administrative red tape and the regulatory burden while still ensuring consumers are provided with important classification information.

Ultimately we want to ensure the current scheme is effective, that we enhance compliance with state and territory classification laws, and importantly – provide more classification information to parents and young people.

These reforms are the first step in process of ensuring our classification system continues to be effective and relevant in the 21st century.