Prostitution will be banned in all suburban residential areas under landmark legislation to be introduced into Western Australian State Parliament today.
The State Government’s Prostitution Bill 2011 seeks to strictly regulate the few locations where prostitution will be permitted to occur and provide police with the clarity needed to respond to public complaints and close down unlawful brothels in the suburbs.
A small number of approved brothels in a small number of appropriately-located areas will be stringently licensed, monitored and regulated. Importantly, the Bill is aimed at better protecting women, and delivers on a key election promise.
Attorney General Christian Porter said the legislation had been carefully developed following the release of a draft Bill for community consultation earlier this year.
“Prostitution is a controversial issue for any Government to address,” Porter said.
“No meaningful legislation will ever be perfectly satisfactory to all the competing viewpoints which exist. Overwhelmingly though, ordinary West Australians do not want prostitution businesses of any size near their homes, in their residential suburbs or near their children’s schools.
“This Bill is designed first and foremost to get prostitution out of the suburbs and to protect people’s homes. What this Bill will mean is if an illegal brothel is running from a house in your street, or next to your child’s school, police will have the power to shut that brothel down. A vote against this Bill is a vote for backyard brothels and the current uncertain, untenable situation," he said.
The Attorney General said the consultation period had been productive, and the Government had been willing to consider any suggestions which would enhance the workability of the Bill without compromising on the election commitment.
“Unlike the previous Labor government’s legislation, ‘micro-brothels’ will not be permitted to lawfully operate in suburban residential areas next to people’s homes, and responding to complaints about unlawful prostitution will always be a police rather than local government responsibility, and there will be strict controls over the size of the lawful industry and the locations where it will be permitted to occur.”