A decade of illicit sex in the city

Publisher:
Thomson Lawbook Company
Publication Type:
Journal article
Citation:
Crofts Penelope 2006, 'A decade of illicit sex in the city', Thomson Lawbook Co., vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 5-15.
Issue Date:
2006
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It has been a decade since the Disorderly Houses Amendment Act 1995 (NSW) was passed, which abolished the common law offence of keeping a brothel. Under this legislation, councils were to regulate brothels using their planning powers. However, the New South Wales government has offered very. little guidance to councils as to how to best use their powers. The limited advice councils have been given has also been plagued by ambiguities. On the one hand, the legislation was passed wilh the intention of treating brothels as legitimate commercial premises. On the other hand, the historical perception of brothels as inherently immoral and offensive has been present in governmental guidance. This article analyses the impact of the New South Wales government's equivocal position on the sex industry. through an examination of Land and Environment Court cases. It is argued that the Land and Environment Court is torn between two conflicting approaches, responding to brothels as commercial premises or perceiving brothels as inherently offensive. While the court initially responded to brothels as commercial premises. the characterisation of brothels as offensive has become increasingly apparent. This article argues that the New South Wales government needs to release clear guidelines regarding the regulation of the sex industry.
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