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Check the Classification
Check the Classification
This has advertising approval, but is not yet classified
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Suitable for everyone.
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Parental Guidance.
Parental Guidance
Not recommended for children under 15; may contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting.
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Not recommended for children under 15; may include moderate levels of violence, language or themes.
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Mature Audiences.
Mature Audiences
Restricted - unsuitable for persons under 15; may contain strong content.
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Restricted (R).
Restricted (R)
Restricted to adults.
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Restricted (X).
Restricted (X)
Restricted to adults – contains sexually explicit content.
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Information for the media industry.
Classification compliance information.
How it all works
How it all works
How it all works.

Media and Student Resources

Media and student resources

Who makes the classification decisions?

The Classification Board is a statutory body independent from government that makes classification decisions for films, computer games and certain publications.

A decision by the Classification Board may be reviewed by the Classification Review Board if a valid application for review is received.

Decisions are also made by approved classification tools. There are currently two approved classification tools used for classification decision making: the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) Tool used to classify online and mobile games in Australia and the Netflix classification Tool used to classify films available on Netflix Australia.

How can I search for a classification?

There is a public database of decisions made by the Classification Board and Classification Review Board which you can search to find a classification. There are user instructions available to assist with searching for titles.

What are the legal requirements for classification? What do the classifications mean?

It is the law that films, computer games and certain publications have to be classified before they can be sold, hired or publicly shown in Australia.

Once they are classified, products must be marked with classification information. Classification markings are the coloured symbols on the packaging or advertising for the product.

Hover your mouse over each symbol at the top of this page for an explanation of that classification category, including the impact level and any legal restrictions that apply.

Classifications are often accompanied by consumer advice. The Classification Board is required to provide consumer advice about the content of films and computer games it classifies. Consumer advice provides information on the classifiable elements that have the highest impact in the film or computer game, and helps consumers make informed choices.

What does the RC Refused Classification mean?

Refused Classification is a classification category. This classification means that the material has been classified and it has been Refused Classification. Sometimes people call this material 'banned' or 'prohibited'.

Material that has been Refused Classification cannot be sold, hired, or advertised in Australia.

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What does the Classification Board take into account when it makes decisions?

The Classification Board must apply the provisions in the Classification Act 1995, the National Classification Code, the Guidelines for the Classification of Films, the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games and the Guidelines for the Classification of Publications when it makes a classification decision.

The National Classification Code describes the classification types. Commonwealth and State and Territory Ministers with responsibility for classification agree to the Code. This is because the States and Territories are equal partners in the National Classification Scheme. The Classification Act 1995 establishes the Boards, and the States and Territories are responsible for the enforcement of classification decisions and taking action when there are breaches.

The Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games and the Guidelines for the Classification of Publications are used by the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board to assist them in applying the National Classification Code by describing the classification types, and setting out the scope and limits of material suitable for each classification type. The classification Guidelines are approved by all Ministers with responsibility for classification. The Classification Guidelines are registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

Three essential principles form the Board's classification decisions:

  • the importance of context
  • assessing impact
  • the six classifiable elements.

The six classifiable elements are:

  • themes
  • violence
  • sex
  • language
  • drug use
  • nudity.

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How can I find out the reasons for a decision?

The Classification Board and Classification Review Board provide reasons for classification decisions in decision reports.

Copies of the Classification Board's decision reports are available by contacting the Classification Branch via the enquiry form or calling 02 9289 7100.

The Classification Review Board's reports are on this website.

Does the Classification Board edit material that is submitted for classification?

No, the Classification Board does not cut material or direct that cuts be made to material. It classifies material in the form in which it is submitted. Sometimes, distributors modify material and submit it again for classification. This is their choice and their decision. Information relating to any modifications may be available from the distributor of the product. You can find out who the distributor of a product is by checking the classification database.

What happened to the Office of Film and Literature Classification?

The former Office of Film and Literature Classification (the OFLC) ceased to exist when new administrative arrangements came into force on 1 July 2007. The policy and operational functions of the OFLC were transferred to the Attorney-General's Department, and subsequently to the Department of Communications and the Arts. Decisions are still made by the Classification Board, and reviews of decisions are still made by the Classification Review Board.

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What are the differences between the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board?

They are two separate Boards. Both Boards are independent from government and from each other.

The Classification Board is a full-time Board which decides the classification of films, computer games and certain publications.  

The Classification Review Board only meets to review a decision of the Classification Board when there is a valid application for review. The Board has different members to the Classification Board and makes fewer decisions.

The Review Board's operate on the basis of a majority-based decision-making procedure.

Who can apply for a review of a classification decision?

Any decision of the Classification Board can be reviewed provided a valid application is made. Generally, an application is made by the distributor of the product. The ministers responsible for classification, and persons aggrieved by a decision, may also apply for a review.

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What is the role of the States and Territories in classification?

As part of the National Classification Scheme, each State and Territory has enforcement legislation that complements the Classification Act 1995. The enforcement legislation sets out how films, publications and computer games can be sold, hired, exhibited, advertised and demonstrated in each jurisdiction. It includes penalties for classification offences and provides for enforcement of classification decisions. Film festivals are also regulated under state and territory enforcement legislation.

Any questions relating to the enforcement of classification decisions should be directed to the relevant state or territory.

Is the Classification Board responsible for TV, internet or recorded music content?

The Classification Board does not classify material that is broadcast on radio or television networks. Television programs are classified by classifiers who work at the television stations. Any enquiries about content broadcast on television should be directed to the relevant station.

The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) establishes a co-regulatory scheme for broadcast services including radio and television. The scheme relies on codes of practice developed by industry and registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The Classification Act applies to online content including streaming services, subscription video on demand (SVOD) services and other films accessed online.

Regulation of online content is also governed by the Online Content Scheme in Schedules 5 and 7 of the BSA. Under the Online Content Scheme, the Office of the eSafety Commissioner investigates complaints about prohibited and potentially prohibited online content which is determined by reference to the classification Guidelines and classification categories in the National Classification Scheme.

Recorded music is monitored by the Australian Record Industry Association. Warning stickers are attached to material with strong lyrics.

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Do the Boards report on their activities?

Yes. The Boards produce an Annual Report each financial year. The Annual Report contains a range of detailed information about both Boards, their decisions, classification, legislation and classification statistics. The classification statistics may be helpful to students.

The statistical information in the Annual Report provides a breakdown of the work of the Classification Board and Review Board by classification and application type.

The Annual report also contains information on complaints and decisions of interest for the particular financial year.

Media releases

The Classification Board may issue media releases for certain films and computer games.

The Classification Review Board announces reviews and provides media releases for every decision that it reviews. Reasons for Review Board decisions are posted as soon as the Review Board has written its decision report.

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