The Game Developers' Association of Australia said that an Australian Government Minister for the Arts and Sport Senator George Brandis has met with a GDAA delegation headed by CEO Greg Bondar, and including game developers Mike Fegan, CEO of Melbourne-based IR Gurus and Martin Cooper CEO of Sydney's Team Bondi.
The GDAA has been petitioning the Federal Government of Australia in a continuing effort to gain a 40 percent rebate for the games industry in that country, claiming lack of government support for the game industry inhibits it from becoming a significant employer.
Bondar has previously stated estimates that a 40 percent production rebate could raise the number of employees in the industry, currently at 8,500, to 18,000 by 2010. Additionally, Bondar says the rebate will help entice more publishers to Australia -- but the GDAA saw its most recent effort denied by the Australian government
Following the denial, Bondar now says the Minister requested a meeting with the GDAA, on the heel of a meeting GDAA recently held with Senator Conroy, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and Shadow Minister for Communications and Information Technology, who undertook to establish a high-level committee to review the GDAA’s call for the 40 percent rebate.
Bondar said the Minister's reception was "very positive," and that Senator Brandis was "most sympathetic to our concerns." According to an official statement on the meeting released by the GDAA, the Senator promised to ensure that a review of the organization's petition would be undertaken if the Coalition were returned to government.
Said Bondis, “As a result of the heightened awareness by both sides of the political fence of the important role that game developers play in the Australian economy, I will be recommending to the members of the GDAA and industry delegates at the Game Connect: Asia Pacific 2007 conference in a few weeks that a National Games Summit be held in partnership with the ‘new’ Government, whichever party it may be, with a view to placing our concerns squarely before the newly elected government. I will also push for the establishment of a national GDAA Games Council to continue to lobby governments."
He continued: "I think our industry has come to the point where it now needs a unified approach to lobbying governments at both the national and international level about the economic, social and cultural benefits of the interactive entertainment (game development) industry. Unless we act now to enforce our legitimate right to be on an equal footing with the film industry game developers will continue to be sidelined by government."