Despite a report suggesting the banning of R18+ games in Western Australia, the IGEA hopes the WA government remains focused on the National Classification Scheme.
The report was tabled in parliament late last week by the Joint Standing Committee on the Commissioner for Children and Young People.
As part of its remit to assess the “sexualisation of children” the report suggests the state government considers the following amendment to the classification of games:
- To prohibit the sale, supply, demonstration, possession or advertisement of a R18+ computer game in Western Australia
- To provide that it is an offence for any person to supply a R18+ computer game to a minor
Ron Curry, head of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, says that while the industry opposes the first proposed amendment, there may be some merit in the second.
“While our view is pretty obvious on the first option,” he told MCV, “it’s not an unreasonable suggestion to ensure we protect minors by not allowing supply of mature content to them.”
However, he did add that the report, which commenced prior to the introduction of an R18+ rating, may have arrived at a different recommendation if it had been drafted today.
“At the time of preparing this report no computer game had been classified R18+ nor shipped, so a similar report drafted today may have a different view on the effective banning of R18+ content in WA,” says Curry.
“Saying that, the Commissioner was on record prior to this report as opposing the introduction of an R18+ category for computer games, so this recommendation isn’t entirely a surprise.”
The report makes a point of separating the issue of “sexualisation of children” into two distinct areas: where children and young people are exposed to inappropriate sexual content, and where children and young people are depicted as sexual objects.
The report now sits with the state attorney-general in Western Australia whom Curry says is on record as saying that his department is “not currently undertaking any specific initiates to deal with this [sexualisation of children] issue.”
“We would hope given that current backdrop of classification reform underway, that WA will remained focused on the National Scheme and ways to improve it, rather than complicating the process further,” says Curry.
“Public concern and sensitivities are meant to inform our classification guidelines and this is currently done through the various state and territory representatives. If there’s a need to isolate ‘sexualisation of children’ from the guidelines, then let’s have that informed debate.”