R18+ games rating decision due July

Decision time for attorneys-general as R18+ guidelines drafted.

A decision on the introduction of an R18+ rating for computer games could arrive as soon as July, the Minister for Justice, Brendan O’Connor, has said.

The statement follows the tabling of draft guidelines for the classification of computer games at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General in Wellington over the weekend.

The guidelines, according to O’Connor, provide “appropriate” safeguards to restrict the availability of material deemed unsuitable for children, address the difference in nature between films and computer games, and ensure that the Refused Classification category is retained.

With the guidelines tabled, it was now time for the state’s attorneys-general to come to a decision on the issue of an R18+ rating, O’Connor said.

“Australians who’ve been following this debate will know that this issue has been on the table for many years, without the necessary progress to make a change,” he said.

“Last year the Gillard Government declared its position and it’s time for all States and Territories to declare their hand on this issue.”

O’Connor said that he anticipated the state and territory attorneys-general would further consider the draft guidelines and seek their government's position on an R18+ classification before the next meeting in July.

“When making their decision, I urge state and territory governments to consider the value of an adults only rating in helping to protect children from unsuitable content as well as the strong public support for this move,” he said.

According to O’Connor, a decision on the introduction of an R18+ classification could not be made over the weekend as the NSW government was currently in pre-election caretaker mode.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @tlohman

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