The Australian Capital Territory has become the first Australian state to pass a new R18+ games rating category into law.
The ABC reports the laws passed with support from all three major political forces, although the Liberals made a spirited – but unsuccessful – bid to increase penalties for “inappropriate display or distribution of material rated R18+”.
“This is about making sure that adults are able to view and play and read what they wish as long as it does not do harm to others,” said attorney general Simon Corbell.
“An R18+ classification ensures that adults can access adult material in computer game form, but at the same time protecting children under the age of 18 from that material.”
All Australian states and territories signed off on changes to the nation’s classification laws earlier this year, but the ACT is the first to get the ball rolling at a legal level. The new classification will allow games rated higher than MA15+ to be sold in stores; prior to the introduction of legislative changes, games considered too high impact – Syndicate and Mortal Kombat, for example – were refused classification, making them illegal to vend in Australia. Politicians, trade bodies and interest groups battled for years to introduce the new ratings category.