Digital Games Tax Offset
When the COVID-19 pandemic caused lockdowns across our nation, almost every Australian business went online. As the Prime Minister said only two weeks ago, every business in Australia is now a digital business, and it is likely to be one of the enduring legacies of the pandemic. That is why I really welcome the Morrison government’s Digital Economic Strategy which invests $1.2 billion in Australia’s digital future. It will allow Australian businesses to capitalise on the opportunities that digital technologies are creating, and it provides the framework for ensuring that Australia is a world-leading digital economy by 2030.
One part of this strategy that will make a significant economic impact both nationally and within my own electorate is the new digital games tax offset of 30 per cent. The offset will promote the growth of Australia’s digital game development industry and increase its market share in a rapidly expanding global sector. I’m excited about the potential impact of this offset for the sector. The global video games industry is worth approximately A$250 billion, which, by comparison, is considerably more than the entire global film, home entertainment and streaming industries are worth combined, and it’s growing. In fact, the gaming industry expanded by 20 per cent last year as COVID-19 led to an increase in game play and sales around the world. This offset will provide a significant boost to our local game development industry. It will allow Australian developers to produce more games for overseas export and increase international investment in the local gaming industry, and it will ensure a thriving and successful video gaming sector in Australia for years and years to come.
North Sydney houses a flourishing video game industry, which will benefit from this policy. Last week I joined Minister Fletcher to visit Ben Lee and his team at Blowfish Studios, an independent games developer and publisher in North Sydney, to hear about the impact the 30 per cent offset will have on the business. Ben told me that, because of the digital games tax offset, he now plans to expand his current studio and hire more employees as he and his team create more Australian made games and distribute them to the global market. But it is not just Blowfish Studios that can benefit from this announcement. There are six other gaming development studios in my electorate, making North Sydney one of the most dynamic hubs for the interactive games industry. This tax offset will lead to many more studios that are backed by global gaming companies being established in Australia—and, hopefully, in North Sydney as well. It is the logical place to be.
I want to acknowledge the advocacy of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, particularly Chair Roger Clarke and CEO Ron Curry. I also thank the minister and the Treasurer for their vision in delivering this in the budget. With the digital games tax offset, Australia is placed to position itself as a global force in this rapidly expanding and lucrative industry. It will mean more support for local businesses, more investment for overseas companies and more jobs for Australians.