Australian Classification Board

Classification agency of films, video games and literary works in Australia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Australian Classification Board (ACB or CB) is an Australian government statutory body responsible for the classification and censorship of films, video games and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in Australia. The ACB was established in 1970 and was once part of the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), which was dissolved in 2006. The Department of Communications and the Arts provided administrative support to the ACB from 2006 until 2020, when it was merged into the 'mega department' of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. Decisions made by the ACB may be reviewed by the Australian Classification Review Board.[1] The ACB now operates under the Commonwealth Classification Act 1995. The ACB is made up of a director, a deputy director, and three other board members, appointed by the government for three- or four-year terms, and temporary board members.[2] The ACB is located in Sydney, New South Wales.

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Classification Board
Agency overview
Formed1970; 53 years ago (1970) (as Australian Classification Board)
JurisdictionCommonwealth of Australia
Minister responsible
Parent agencyDepartment of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (current parent agency), Department of Communications and the Arts (until 2020), OFLC (until 2006), Australian Classification Review Board (sister agency)

The ACB does not directly censor material by ordering cuts or changes. However, it is able to effectively censor media by refusing classification and making the media illegal for hire, exhibition and importation to Australia.

The classification system has several levels of "restricted" categories, prohibiting sale, exhibition or use of some materials to those who are under a prescribed age. In 2005, video and computer games became subject to the same classification ratings and restrictions as films (with the exception of the R 18+ and X 18+ ratings), in response to confusion by parents.[3] Despite a line in the National Classification Code stating that "adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want", the adult R 18+ classification was not applied to video games in Australia until 1 January 2013.[4]

Some films (those made for educational or training purposes, for instance) are exempt from classification under certain conditions. Film festivals and institutions such as Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) may apply to the ACB for an exemption from classification for the purpose of screening at a particular film festival or event. If the ACB believes an unclassified work, in their estimation, would receive an X 18+ classification if it were to be classified they would not grant an exemption for public screening, as an X 18+ cannot be exhibited. The ACB may require film festivals to have age-restricted entrance to a festival or screening.