The Australian states have different laws and regulations for brothels, soliciting and escort services. The NSW Parliamentary Research Services ‘Issues Backgrounder’ paper, released in July 2015, confirmed exactly how confusing – and dare we say, unfair – some rules can be, depending on where Australian sex workers live.
For example, brothels are not allowed in South Australia, NT and Tasmania. However, the brothel industry thrives in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and ACT. NSW brothels enjoy the most freedom and only need to get planning approval, but those in ACT, Queensland and Victorian brothels have pounds more of paperwork to wade through to get registered or licensed.
Queensland and SA also ban escort agencies (for reasons we can’t understand). However, Victoria and NT escort agencies can file for a license, and the ACT escort agencies can register. NSW and WA have the most liberal approach. (Sex work was decriminalized in NSW in 1996).
Independent sex workers have to deal with different laws on how they can advertise, whether they can work from their homes or do outcalls. Victoria sex workers have to apply for a brothel license if they want to work from their own home! Incalls are illegal in NT, but escorts can do outcalls and advertise. The Scarlet Alliance, the national peak body for Australian sex workers, has long lobbied for decriminalisation since that improves the health, education and safety of sex workers.