Today in the Parliament I spoke about the Government's decision to axe the Australian Interactive Games Fund.
It was my pleasure this morning, with the shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, to meet with Adam Boyle and Tony Lawrence, from 2K Australia, to discuss the government's axing of the Australian Interactive Games Fund. This was a $10 million cut from the budget. That is a small amount when compared to what this government has cut out of health and education, but it is a significant cut when it comes to the nascent Australian gaming industry.
The Australian gaming industry has given us games such as the BioShock series, Fruit Ninja, LA Noire and Test Drive Unlimited. As Mathew Zagby, an intern in my office, puts it, ‘gaming is a way to relax, escape reality and just enjoy an alternative reality for an hour or so’. According to Antony Reed, the CEO of the Game Developers Association of Australia, the gaming industry in Australia turns over in the region of $300 million annually. The $10 million earmarked for the Australian Interactive Games Fund was a way of growing this critical creative industry.
The gaming industry, in a sense, sits at the intersection between computer science and film making—two industries whose value is broadly recognised—but, perhaps because of the word 'gaming', it is not taken seriously by this government. That is a pity. Just around the corner from my electorate office, in Braddon, I am very proud to have 2K Australia, a business which is creating jobs—good jobs, and export oriented jobs at that. It is a firm which would benefit even more if it had the National Broadband Network, which, under this government, in a cruel twist of fate, will stop a block away from their headquarters and indeed my electorate office.
The Australian gaming industries struggled through the global financial crisis. Despite that, the gaming industry worldwide is valued at $93 billion. It is vital that we expand Australia's gaming industry in order to provide more opportunities for Australian computer science graduates. 2K is Australia's only AAA developer, which means they develop large games at the forefront of the gaming industry. 2K has 45 staff and has managed to develop some critically acclaimed titles. 2K does not benefit from the Australian Interactive Games Fund but says it is vital in promoting the industry and bringing up and comers into the gaming industry.