The three MPs who gave dissenting views on the report of the Select Committee on the Regulation of Brothels welcomed the announcement that the Government is walking away from contentious proposals to further regulate sex workers.
The Government’s response to the report of the Select Committee – released yesterday - notes the “NSW Government will not be introducing the licensing model described by the final report of the Select Committee because introducing such significant regulatory burdens and police involvement risks creating similar outcomes to recriminalising sex work.”
Alex Greenwich MP and Labor MP’s Jo Haylen and Kathy Smith argued that a better approach was to properly resource councils to deal with unauthorised brothels, including designating staff within the Department of Local Government to coordinate with local government, community organisations and police.
In offering their dissenting views, the three MPs cited concerns over the health of sex workers and the community, the overwhelming opposition to licensing proposals by health and social welfare organisations, and the fact evidence did not show unauthorised brothels were less of a problem in jurisdictions with licensing regimes.
They also pointed to the important findings of the Wood Royal Commission and argued that NSW had led on the decriminalisation of sex workers and should continue to lead.
Quotes from Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney
“I welcome the government’s considered response to the inquiry, and commitment to the health and well-being of sex workers.
“It’s important that local councils are given the support and resources they need to manage planning issues around sex services premises and it was clear from the inquiry that the City of Sydney’s practical rather than moral approach is the most effective”
Quotes from Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill
"After hearing all the evidence, we made a strong case that New South Wales should continue to lead when it came to the decriminalisation of sex work.
“I’m very pleased that the NSW Government has seen sense and recognises that a licensing system is not in the best interests of sex workers or the community.
“The health benefits of the current regulatory system are clear and I'm glad that we'll continue to heed the lessons of the Wood Royal Commission.
"Local councils need better resourcing to manage unauthorised brothels, but today's decision upholds the positive health and social benefits decriminalisation has allowed.”
Quotes from Kathy Smith, Member for Gosford
“The Government has made a common sense decision to stick with a system that works.
“The vast bulk of evidence from health, welfare and sex workers themselves supported the current system and the evidence was clear that the system works.
“The evidence showed there are better ways to address concerns around unauthorised brothels without jeopardising the many benefits the current system affords.”