3 February 2020
Territorians have had the first and last opportunity to voice their concerns on the Labor Government allowing sex services businesses to operate in residential areas.
Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro said planning considerations and consultation should have been conducted in line with the legislation so Territorians could clearly understand what the Government was proposing before the legislation was passed.
“It is precisely for this reason that the Opposition voted against it in the Parliament,” she said.
“The fact that the legislation passed makes this planning process the first, and last, opportunity for people to be heard by the Labor Government around the location of sex services businesses in our community.”
Mrs Finocchiaro said the Labor Government has indicated these matters would be dealt with under the Planning Act 1999.
“Under the proposed changes to the planning scheme published in the NT News on 15 November 2019, new sex services businesses of two or less sex workers would be allowed to set up in residential areas, so long as they are not ‘next to or adjoining’ a kindergarten, school, child care or church,” she said.
“Territorians are very concerned by the definition of ‘next to or adjoining’. Does it mean a sex services business can operate opposite a school?
“Sex services are often delivered in the evening and late at night, leading to potential disruption in urban areas through parking, noise, and the additional safety concerns. Territorians are also concerned that the operation of a sex services business in a neighbourhood or unit block may also lead to a decrease in property values.
“Any existing sex services businesses that have been operating illegally to date should be required to abide by these restrictions.
“It appears that the Labor Government does not share the same concerns as Territorians.
“Whatever an individual’s attitude towards sex work in general, Territorians have told me they do not approve of sex services business being established where there are children, seniors, and vulnerable people.”
Mrs Finocchiaro said the CLP Opposition recommends that sex services businesses of any size be restricted to operating, with consent, in areas other than residential.