The Australian federal government will introduce a long-discussed R18+ rating for games aimed exclusively at adults in the coming months, federal minister for home affairs Brendan O'Connor said after state and territory attorneys general agreed to the move "in principle" at a recent meeting.
New South Wales attorney general Greg Smith abstained from the vote, as he previously said he would
while all other state and territory attorney generals approved the idea of new rating's introduction.
The attorneys general will now take the draft proposal back to their respective cabinets for final approval, after amendments introduced by Western Australia and Victoria representatives dealing with what VG247 calls
issues of ratings consistency across states.
After these amendments are considered, a process which may take a few months, O'Connor said he will officially introduce the federal ratings guidelines. Each state will then be able to decide on its own whether to adopt those guidelines, according to reports.
"This is a big step forward in the long-running debate on classification of computer games for adults," O'Connor said, as reported by ABC
. "Once introduced, the classification will afford adults the opportunity to view material designed for adults. It is a credit to all jurisdictions that the meeting has now been able to achieve agreement over what is a complex matter in classification policy."
Meanwhile, Gamespot reports
that South Australia attorney general John Rau has reiterated earlier stated plans
to fold the MA15+ rating into the R18+ rating in the state.
Rau said he envisions placing an R18+ sticker on top of any game rated MA15+ in the state, in order to increase the distance between content meant for adults and children.
"I'm working on the basis that while the federal government sets the rules, it's up to each individual state to police them," Rau told GameSpot. "I cannot imagine it will be a problem for South Australia to fold the MA15+ rating into the R18+ rating, once Australia has one."