Games sector key to $190m Victorian screen strategy

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

The local games development sector is a key focus of the Victorian government’s new $190 million screen strategy, announced just days after the federal government unveiled a tax incentive for the sector.

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson launched VICSCREEN, the state’s first screen strategy in more than a decade, on Monday morning.

The strategy will see $191.5 million over four years contributed to the screen industry, including games development, through a range of incentives, grants and skills programs.

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Spring Street: The games sector is a key focus of Victoria’s new screen strategy

It comes just days after the federal government announced a 30 per cent tax offset on qualifying expenditure for the sector will be offered from July next year, the first ever federal incentive for the games sector.

The Victorian government has previously funded the local games sector through Film Victoria, and that agency will be “revitalised and expanded” to lead the implementation of the new strategy.

The suite of policies will “supercharge” digital games projects, create jobs, and attract interstate and global games companies to set up shop in Victoria, Mr Pearson said.

“The reputation of our screen industry is world-class and through VICSCREEN we will grow jobs, foster local talent and put Victorian projects on the map. We have an enormous pool of talent here in Victoria and this strategy will build on our strengths and position the industry for growth for decades to come,” Mr Pearson said.

“As a digital and technology-focused sector, screen is an industry of now and the future. Victoria has an opportunity to harness this growth and seek a greater share of the global screen market.”

The announcement has been welcomed by Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) CEO Ron Curry, who said it is a holistic package for the sector.

“Today’s announcement by Minister Pearson including VICSCREEN further cements Victoria’s ongoing support of the screen sector,” Mr Curry told InnovationAus.

“This focused and well-thought out strategy will see game developers benefit not just from direct funding, but in critical areas such as competitive and global connections, a focus on a highly skilled workforce and increasing touchpoints for their creative and business outputs.

“We are looking forward to working closely with Film Victoria, Creative Victoria and other industry and government stakeholders to ensure we all maximise the benefit from this strategy.”

The VICSCREEN strategy will focus on sectors including eSports, animation, post-production, digital games development and technology and built infrastructure.

The state government will be providing funding for early-stage project development in digital games prototypes, and will also be establishing a new Victorian Creators Lab, which will initially focus on premium drama.

A Victorian Production Fund will soon be launched to back companies in the key sectors, including digital games content for local and international markets.

The Victorian Screen Incentive will also be expanded in an effort to attract new digital games projects in the state, while further incentives will be on offer for companies to relocate to Victoria.

The state government will investigate the feasibility of launching a dedicated tertiary training provider for games and animation which would produce graduates at the highest international industry standard.

Last week the federal government announced a new Digital Games Tax Offset, available from July next year, which will see eligible games businesses that have spent a minimum of $500,000 on qualifying Australian games expenditure receiving a 30 per cent refundable tax offset.

The federal government will consult on the eligibility requirements of the games tax offset later this year.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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