Review of the Regulation of Brothels in NSW
The NSW Government has committed to improving the regulation of brothels and agreed that the objectives of the proposed regulatory system are the protection of residential amenity, protection of sex workers and safeguarding public health. The Department of Premier and Cabinet (via the Better Regulation Office) was asked by the Government to develop reform options to achieve these objectives.
The review has been considering the regulatory framework that could apply to the sex industry in NSW, within the context of sex work remaining legal. In particular, the review focused on the regulation of sex services premises, which are defined as premises where 'sex work' occurs habitually or has been used for that purpose and is likely again to be used for that purpose. The review also considered the possible impacts that such regulation may have on other parts of the sex industry (for example, street based sex work), including how it may shift the supply of sex services and the subsequent implications for public policy outcomes.
The review has also been considering approaches adopted in other key Australian and international jurisdictions for opportunities to improve NSW's regulatory framework.
An issues paper was released for comment in late 2012. The purpose of the issues paper was to seek evidence, information and perspectives from stakeholders about the current regulatory framework in NSW for sex services premises and three possible options for reform:
- Option 1: Improve the current regulatory system, including improving decision-making in planning for sex services premises and improving the sharing of information between NSW regulators. This option does not include registration or licensing, but might equally be relevant for adoption as part of the registration or licensing options (i.e. options 2 or 3).
- Option 2: Introduce a registration system for owners and operators of commercial sex services premises.
- Option 3: Introduce a licensing system for owners and operators of commercial sex services premises.
The review is currently being finalised.