Prostituion Laws - Australia

Prostitution Laws in Australia

Prostitution laws in Australia are vastly different from state to state. The following provides a very brief description of the laws for each state and also provides links to the various acts.

Western Australia

Prostitution in this state comes under the Prostitution Act 2000. While prostitution itself is legal, many activities associated with it, such as brothels, soliciting in a public place and pimping, are illegal.


Brothels have been legalised in Victoria and are regulated by the Sex Work Act 1994 through Consumer Affairs Victoria. Street prostitution remains illegal. The aim of the legislation was to remove the criminal element in the industry, especially the use of underage and trafficked women, and to provide better regulation. 


Brothels and single operators were legalised in Queensland in 1999 with the Prostitution Act 1999. Brothels are licensed by the Prostitution Licensing Authority (PLA). Street prostitution, unlicensed brothels, massage parlour prostitution and outcalls from licensed brothels remain illegal. They also have a clear distinction between prostitution and social (i.e. non sexual) escort services.

Northern Territory

Brothel prostitution is illegal under the Prostitution Regulation Act 2004 but sole operators are legal but unregulated. Street prostitution is illegal. Escort agencies are legal and must be registered with the Northern Territory Licensing Commission.  Workers in escort agencies must be registered with the police. 

South Australia

The laws surrounding sex work in South Australia are contained in the Summary Offences Act (1953) and the Criminal Law Consolidation Act (1935-1976). Prostitution itself is not illegal in South Australia. There are a many laws relating to commercial sex that occurs in a brothel effectively rendering brothel based sex work activities illicit.


Prostitution in Tasmania is regulated by the Sex Industry Offences Act 2005. Prostitution is legal, but brothels and street prostitution are illegal. Self employed operators are legal and may operate with one other person.

Australian Capital Territory

Prostitution was legalised in 1992 and is covered under the Prostitution Act 1992. Brothels and escort agencies as well as the prostitutes themselves must be registered with the Office of Regulatory Services.

Helpful Links

  • Scarlett Alliance - Australian Sex Workers Association
  • Magenta - Sex Worker Support Project
  • CATWA - Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia