NSW set to derail upcoming R18+ decision

The NSW Attorney-General's department says it will not vote on the introduction of an adult classification for video games at this week's SCAG meeting.

Many Aussie gamers are looking upon this Friday's Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting (SCAG) as D-day for gaming classification in Australia, with all nine federal, state, and territory censorship ministers voting on the introduction of an R18+ classification for games.

Despite high hopes that a consensus will be reached, leading to Australia subsequently introducing an adult rating for games, it now appears that the decision will be delayed again, with at least one attorney-general planning to abstain from taking part in the R18+ vote.

In May this year, GameSpot AU canvassed the opinion of all nine federal, state, and territory censorship ministers on the issue of R18+ for games. The poll revealed that six out of nine states and territories--the federal government, Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, and the ACT--were in support of introducing the adult rating for games in Australia. The remaining three states--NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia--declared they would make their final decision in the lead-up to the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting this Friday.

Now, the NSW Attorney-General's department is declaring that the NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith will not be voting on the R18+ for games issue.

"We're not going down a definitive route," a spokesperson for Smith told GameSpot AU. "More work needs to be done on this issue. We want to wait to see the results of the ALRC [Australian Law Reform Commission] classification review."

If Smith takes this position at the SCAG meeting on Friday, it will mean the R18+ for games decision will once again be delayed. For an adult classification for games to be introduced, all of Australia's state, territory, and federal governments must unanimously agree on its implementation.

The ALRC review is currently under way and is not set for completion until at least early 2012. The review will look at broader classification issues, with a view to update Australia's current national classification scheme.

GameSpot AU will be reporting live from the SCAG meeting this Friday. For more on the issue, visit our previous coverage.

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