Sex Industry Bill

26 NOVEMBER 2019

The Sex Industry Bill does not achieve the balance of public welfare with the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said the Opposition’s views were tabled in a dissenting report in the Parliament today.

"Whatever an individual’s attitude towards sex work in general, most reasonable people would not approve of sex work being performed in the house next door or on the same street as a church, primary school or day care centre," Mr Higgins said.

"The Government has indicated that these matters will be dealt with under the Planning Act (1999) however, this is simply not good enough.

"We understand existing illegal operations will be grandfathered upon passage of the Bill, regardless of where they are located, and under the proposed changes to the planning scheme published in the NT News, new sex workers would be allowed to set up anywhere so long as they are not ‘next to or adjoining’ a kindergarten, school, child care or church.

"It appears that the Government is completely comfortable forcing young children to walk past a brothel, so long as it is not ‘next door or adjoining’."

Mr Higgins said there were also welfare and safety concerns.

"To treat sex work as the same as any other business denies reality," he said.

"Sex work is different to hairdressing or pet grooming – it can be a risky enterprise for both workers and customers and the health risks are apparent.

"This Bill makes no provision, aside from advertising restrictions, for the use of safe sex practices."

Mr Higgins said most disappointing, the regulations to accompany this Bill have not been tabled in the Legislative Assembly or even provided in draft form.

"Given the amount of potentially delegated authority in the Bill, the form of the regulations could have a significant impact on the operation of the sex work industry in the Territory," he said.