A useful start on reform of our classification system?

May 8, 2024

CMA’s Hon CEO, Barbara Biggins, posits ‘A useful start on reform of our classification system?

The federal government has announced the next stage of the long running (since 2011) review of the National Classification Scheme (NCS), and submissions are called for by May 16.

Will these proposals help fix, or at least be a good move forward to fixing, the well-established deficits of the present Scheme?

This next stage canvasses views on 3 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
  • establishing fit-for-purpose governance and regulatory arrangements for the scheme, under a single national regulator responsible for media classification.

Children and Media Australia believes there should be broad support for the Government’s proposed Stage 2 reforms to the NCS. In particular, we welcome the proposal for a single body to oversee classification, advised by a well-qualified consultative committee. Such a structure offers the best prospects for the development and application of a robust evidence-based and age-specific classification scheme that is long overdue. We further support the proposal to extend the NCS to additional platforms such as streaming services and online game stores.

If you’d like more information about the issues at stake for children and young people, read our Editorial in this issue.

The present government Classification Reform paper is available for comment by May 16.

For further background to this issue, refer to  this recent podcast

and CMA’s 2020 full submission to the Review of National Classification Regulation.

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