Games still illegal despite new rating

THE Tasmanian Department of Justice yesterday warned gamers that unclassified games remain illegal under new Tasmanian legislation that took effect this week.

Although an R18+ rating was introduced with the new legislation on Wednesday, developers are yet to apply for their games to be re-assessed by the Australian Classifications Board.

Inveresk gamer Kurtis Coppleman praised the revised law, but he said it would not stop gamers from importing games illegally until they were released in Australia.

``An online grey market had been created by previous legislation, as gamers looked for overseas sources to import games that were not allowed to be classified and sold here,'' Mr Coppleman said.

``Any R18+ game that was not available from Australian retailers was readily available on sites as common as eBay.

``(Once R18+ games are released) it will mean many dollars that would have been spent overseas under the old legislation will now be spent in Australia.''

No charges for possession of an illegal game have been made under the new or previous laws.

Tasmanian Attorney-General Brian Wightman said it was unlikely Tasmania would see any R18+ games in the very near future.

``My latest advice is that no games have been given this classification and the first applications are likely this month, with the process then taking some time,'' Mr Wightman said.

It takes 20 days for a game to go through the classification process, or five if developers pay a priority fee.

The legislation means it is illegal for parents in Tasmania to provide their children with R18+ material, including games, movies and magazines.

PENALTIES

Tasmanian R18+ penalties

 Selling/hiring an R18+ computer game to a minor: $2600.

 Demonstrating an R18+ computer game in a public place: $6500.

 Demonstrating an R18+ computer game in presence of a child: $2600.

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