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Legislation

National Classification Scheme

The National Classification Scheme is a cooperative arrangement between the Australian Government (the Commonwealth) and state and territory governments. It was created by the Intergovernmental Agreement on Censorship.

Ministers from the Commonwealth, states and territories oversee the Scheme. The National Classification Code and guidelines for the classification of films, computer games and publications must be agreed to by all ministers. These provide the principles and criteria for making classification decisions.

The role of the Commonwealth

Commonwealth law establishes the Classification Board and Classification Review Board and sets out their responsibilities and procedures for decision making.

The Commonwealth classification Minister is the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts.

The role of the states and territories

State and territory governments make laws about how films, computer games, and publications can be distributed, shown and advertised. The laws can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

State and territory police enforce these laws.

State and territory classification Ministers are usually Attorneys-General or Ministers for Justice.

Commonwealth legislation

The national scheme is implemented through the Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995.

The Act is supplemented by a number of regulations, determinations and legislative instruments which include:

Online content is regulated in Australia by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

State and territory legislation

Each state and territory has classification enforcement legislation to complement the Commonwealth Classification Act. The legislation sets out how films, publications and computer games can be sold, hired, exhibited and advertised in each state or territory. Some states and territories have reserved classification powers.

​Australian Capital Territory

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Enforcement) Act 1995

New South Wales

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995

Victoria

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Enforcement) Act 1995

Queensland

Classification of Computer Games and Images Act 1995

Classification of Films Act 1991

Classification of Publications Act 1991

South Australia​

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995

​Western Australia

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1996

​Tasmania

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995

Northern Territory

Classification of Publications, Films and Computer Games Act

Classification of Publications, Films and Computer Games Regulations

Approval of classification tools

The Commonwealth classification Minister can approve classification tools for classifying films, computer games and/or publications. In deciding whether to approve a classification tool, the Minister must consider the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Approval of Classification Tools) Guidelines 2014.

Approved classification tools

The International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) Global Rating Tool has been approved for classifying online and/or mobile games.

The Netflix Classification Tool has been approved for classifying films available on Netflix Australia.

Revoke a classification tool decision

The Classification (Approved Classification Tools) (Application for Revocation of Classification) Determination 2015 sets out rules for applying to the Classification Board to revoke a classification rating made by an approved classification tool.

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