Generative artificial intelligence (AI) creates new content in response to prompts, offering transformative potential across multiple sectors such as education, entertainment, healthcare and scientific research. However, these technologies also pose critical societal and policy challenges that policy makers must confront: potential shifts in labour markets, copyright uncertainties, and risk associated with the perpetuation of societal biases and the potential for misuse in the creation of disinformation and manipulated content. Consequences could extend to the spreading of mis- and disinformation, perpetuation of discrimination, distortion of public discourse and markets, and the incitement of violence. Governments recognise the transformative impact of generative AI and are actively working to address these challenges. This paper aims to inform these policy considerations and support decision makers in addressing them.