Modernising Australia’s National Classification Scheme

The Albanese Government is committed to modernising the National Classification Scheme to ensure it remains a relevant source of information to guide Australians’ decisions about the content appropriate for themselves and their families, with a new discussion paper launched today to inform the next stage of reforms.
Successive reviews have found that the scheme has not kept pace with the way Australians access media content, particularly with the rapid growth in online content, the emergence of new content sharing platforms, and evolving community norms.
This consultation process builds on reforms that commenced on 14 March under the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Industry Self-Classification and Other Measures) Act 2023, as part of the Government’s two-stage process to reform the scheme and make it fit for the modern media environment.
For the next stage of reforms, industry and public views are being sought on three key issues:

  • clarifying the scope and purpose of the scheme, including the types of content that should be subject to classification;
  • ensuring the classification guidelines continue to be aligned with, and responsive to, evolving community standards, expectations and evidence; and
  • establishing fit-for-purpose governance and regulatory arrangements for the scheme, under a single national regulator responsible for media classification.

Stage one reforms which are now in force make it easier for industry to self-classify content; expand exemptions from classification for low-risk cultural content made available by libraries and museums; and enable content classified for broadcast to be shown in other formats using the same classification.
The Government has also worked with State and Territory Governments to introduce mandatory minimum classifications for computer games containing gambling-like content. These new classifications come into force in September this year.
Submissions on the stage two reforms to modernise the National Classification Scheme close at 5pm AEST on 16 May 2024.
Read the consultation paper and have your say here:
Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
“Australians know and value our National Classification Scheme, and rely on it to help them make choices about the content most appropriate for themselves and their families.
“But the way Australians consume media has changed significantly since the Scheme was first introduced almost three decades ago. That’s why the Albanese Government is committed to modernising the regime to ensure it is fit-for-purpose for the modern world.
“I encourage all interested parties to share their views to help us shape the next stage of reforms, and deliver an improved classification scheme that works for Australians.”