Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile MLC is a greatly respected and well meaning politician but he would not have foreseen that his amendment to the NSW brothel laws this year would have had so many unintended consequences such as creating havens for tax cheats, welfare fraudsters and peddlers of unsafe s-x.

The Nile amendment means that premises (including private homes) used or likely to be used for the purposes of prostitution by no more than one prostitute would not fall under the definition of “Brothel” under the Restricted Premises Act 1943 and, as a consequence, takes that person out of any sort of regulated environment.

So what does all this mean to the rest of us? Well, for starters, I bet you didn’t realise that 40% of the s-x industry in NSW is made of prostitutes working from their home? Since the Nile amendment and the new laws coming into operation closing illegal brothels in October the figure is now around 50% and rising as service providers flee brothels to start up their own business from their home.

And why do they want to do that? Because they are working outside the regulated system and as such they are effectively outside the reach of normal business compliance processes like business registration, payment of tax and health inspections as may be required by, say, a hair salon or a legal brothel. With my background in tax I can confidently say that the majority of the prostitutes Reverend Nile is protecting do not pay tax and are on the welfare gravy train and in the end it is the government who lose out.

Despite claims by s-x worker organisations it is my belief that home prostitutes remain outside the reach of targeted health education and support services and as a result things like safe s-x become negotiable in an unregulated environment. Look at some of these online advertisements on the internet where many home prostitutes offer unprotected s-x. Where are the s-x worker organisations when you need them?

NSW Councils are now using new laws given to them by the Iemma Government to close illegal brothels. They must be working because NSW s-x workers have organised an open letter and petition for Mr Iemma complaining they are too effective. Signatories to the petition make a who’s who of the usual suspects including big supporters of the illegal brothel industry. What makes me laugh with this mob is that they claim the Adult Business Association (ABA) has led a scare campaign against the smaller, independent brothels and home based independent workers. They like to use the word “independent” in lieu of the proper description of these miscreants, “illegal”.

The ABA does not have a problem with competition against legal brothels. But we will not stand by and allow illegal operators to trade freely and take business away from approved, regulated and taxpaying brothels and in the process create an unlevel playing field for the industry in NSW. The legal industry has to comply with stringent and costly council conditions to operate as a brothel. Things such as bathrooms, disabled access and parking spaces are just some of the conditions and renovations can sometimes be in excess of $100,000 just to meet council requirements. I wish some of the nongs in the NSW Greens could understand this and stop spruiking for the illegal industry.

The last word should go to Beth who works at the well known bordello The Site at Rosehill in Sydney. She said in an interview “s-x and Money” with Ralph Magazine this month:

I built up confidence as I found out the industry isn’t as scary as you think, and that it’s professionally run at the legal places. We have training for all the new girls about health and safety. We’re very strict on that.