Wednesday, 07 March 2018 23:49

Rowland pushes games sector benefits for ‘new economy’ Featured

Michelle Rowland, Labor Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, Labor Shadow Communications Minister

Australia has an enormous role to play in terms of fostering the country’s games sector, according to the Labor Party’s Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland.

Rowland told a recent roundtable on the games industry, which included Ron Curry from IGEA, the Interactive Gaming and Entertainment Association, that the game development sector in Australia is one that is growing, and has enormous potential.

“It's also one that goes to the heart of the importance of having a true National Broadband Network and one in which everyone can take advantage of not only high-speed download, but also incredible upload opportunities,” Rowland said.

“It's unfortunate that the federal government, that our current Minister for Communications, don't feel the same way. It took around 600 days, indeed more than 600 days, for the government to respond to the Game On report, which was handed down many months ago now. And we had a response from the government that was not even 10 pages in substance.

“But these are huge issues that need to be addressed if we are going to foster a vibrant games sector in Australia.

“One of them is the fact that the skills that are required for this sector are indeed highly transferable. They are ones that require a lot of STEM impact. They are ones that require a lot of critical thinking and creativity. They transcend nearly every sector of the economy, from education through to having complex problem-solving skills.

“And if Australia is going to take advantage of the new economy, if we are going to be a nation that doesn't just talk about innovation, then we need to start taking this sector seriously.”
“We exist in a $100 billion industry and Australia has the opportunity to take as much of that cake as we like,” Curry said.

“Up to now, we've been thwarted in really progressing as an industry because of some of the mechanisms that are and aren't in place in Australia,” Curry claimed.

“So we really welcome the opportunity to have that open dialogue and continuing that discussion to ensure our industry, not just for games as entertainment, but for games serving greater purposes across the community in health, in mental health issues, in real estate.
“Whatever way you want to look at it, taking those skills and improving opportunities in this country and increasing employment to a point where we compare to countries like Canada.”

Jayson Hilchie, Entertainment Software Association of Canada, said that through a focus on innovation the games industry in Canada was now expanding “from just an entertainment business to now existing at the centre of an innovation ecosystem, driving things like artificial intelligence, graphics, healthcare and virtual reality and augmented reality”.

“So I've seen our industry grow from a nation industry to a world leader that's now impacting a number of other sectors as the economy advances.”

Rowland said that Labor was interested in making sure that it was examining all the options available to the gaming sector to enable jobs growth, to enable the sector to realise its full potential.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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