A proposal to offer AUS$1.8 billion ($1.89 billion) in R&D tax credits to small and mid-sized Australian businesses has gained crossbench support in the country's parliament, a move heralded by the country's game development community.
The new legislation is focused on small and mid-sized firms with less than AUS$20 million ($21.2 million) in annual turnover, offering them a 45 percent refundable tax credit for research and development purposes.
Australia's Green party has now offered its support to the legislation, which was spearheaded by the majority Labor government, setting it up to go into effect starting July 1.
Though the legislation applies to a number of industries, the Australian game development community has particularly embraced the news.
Interactive Games and Entertainment Association CEO Ron Curry said in a statement the announcement "has already attracted the interest of many global game publishers," and could make game development a significant GDP driver in Australia.
“Once the legislation is passed through the Senate we should expect to see an increase in investment interest from publishers that have established development studios in Australia and potentially far greater investment in the intellectual properties being developed within local game development studios," he said.
Game Developers Association of Australia chief executive Antony Reed added his support for the announcement, saying it illustrates the government's confidence in small and medium-sized businesses across the country.
“Innovation is at the heart of game development and the introduction of the new legislation not only assists in levelling the global competitive playing field, but also affords the local industry the opportunity to challenge traditional gameplay conventions,” he said.
The Australian game development community has long lobbied
for these kinds of tax incentives to increase their competitiveness on the international stage. The lack of tax incentives
for game developers in the UK has been blamed
for the departure of many British developers to locations that do offer tax breaks, such as many Canadian and American locales.