The House of Representatives has approved plans to introduce an R18+ ratings category for video games in Australia.
The classification reform bill made it through the House of Representatives without amendment.
Having passed this hurdle, the bill will be sent to the Senate where it will be debated further; if blocked, it will have to be re-drafted and resubmitted, if all goes well, individual states and territories will move to accomodate the proposed legislation into their own systems.
Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare estimates the new ratings category could go into effect as early as January 1 2013.
Currently, Australia’s video games ratings system is out of step with that used for all other media. Games considered to strong in impact for the MA15+ category are refused classification, effectively blocking their retail within the nation. Proposed classification reform would allow these games to be sold within Australia, does not allow for mature content beyond the parameters of current media guidelines, and would also keep high impact games out of the MA15+ category; current classification has been criticised for inconsistency.