Today marks the first anniversary of the NSW government’s brothel laws which were supposed to crack down on the spread of illegal brothels The new laws are a joke and are not working. Accordingly, I have today submitted my resignation to the Adult Business Association NSW.

I have done this because I believe I cannot lobby this NSW government any more to effect further change to the brothel laws. The government are ineffectual, unresponsive and prone to lobbying by the extreme left wing views of the Greens, s-x worker organisations and some academics. I said publically on Stateline NSW last year that the new laws appear to be a bandaid solution. Twelve months on I have been proved right.

Local councils are often reluctant to get involved with illegal brothels because of the time and money associated with closing them. Instead, what many of them do is offer the opportunity to the owner to lodge a development application to operate as a brothel. Where is the deterrent factor in all this? Instead of prosecuting the offenders for breaking the law they say, “Oh, here you go. Come in through the back door and just fill in the form and lodge it with council.”

I have also noticed the rise in “phoenix” brothels — ones that have been closed down by one council but rise from the ashes and reemerge in another locality. The majority of councils are content to close illegal brothels and allow the owners to simply walk away instead of prosecuting them. This allows them to set up business somewhere else. And why wouldn’t they? There is no deterrence factor.

In other cases I have dealt with councils have shown a belligerent attitude towards me. Waverley Council in Sydney’s east would not close down an illegal brothel until I threatened them with a referral to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) while Strathfield Council would not close an illegal establishment because the previous occupiers ran a legal brothel. Even though they did not have consent from council to operate as a brothel, council advised me they may have “existing rights”. No deterrence again.

The other aggravating factor influencing my decision to resign was the government has not yet responded to ICAC’s recommendations emanating from its investigation into corrupt conduct associated with the regulation of brothels in Parramatta.

Three recommendations were made to the Minister for Planning and the Attorney General. They are that the Minister for Planning and the Attorney General commission a review of the corruption risks attached to the regulation of brothels by local councils, and develop an appropriate strategy to deal with those risks, to regulate s-x industry advertisements by not allowing illegal brothels to advertise and that they give consideration to adopting a system to prevent unsuitable persons operating brothels.

Every right thinking person would say they are reasonable recommendations. Not so this government and thirteen months after the report was tabled in Parliament nothing has happened. So any Tom, Dick or Harry can still apply for a brothel license while Rupert and the Daily Telegraph continue to bank their rivers of gold adult advertising.

I enjoyed the ride and I could have kept taking the money but in the end I was hitting my head against the brick wall that is the NSW government.

Peter Fray

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