State Government's plan to expand where sex work can legally operate

Published on 26 November 2021

Melton City Council is seeking community feedback on the Victorian Government’s proposed Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill.

In Victoria, sex work is only legal if it takes place within certain areas, such as industrial precincts (Sex Work Act 1994).

The Victorian Government, through the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill, is seeking to expand where sex work can legally operate. Under the changes, sex work will be allowed to operate on public streets, in residential, retail and commercial areas.

Council holds concerns that the proposed changes will negatively impact the community, especially businesses, families and children.

Council is also concerned that the proposals will not achieve increased safety for sex workers and will instead result in reduced police, health and counselling resources for sex workers. 

Mayor of the City of Melton, Cr Goran Kesic said given the scale of these proposed legislative changes, Council had concerns that there had been insufficient consultation with the community, undertaken by the Victorian Government, regarding this issue.

“Council holds concerns that these proposed laws will not achieve the worthy goal of increased safety for sex workers and that some of the changes will compromise the community if the legislative framework is inadequate.

“We’re concerned about the impacts these legislation changes will have on residential areas, in particular child safety, as well as community and neighbourhood safety and general neighbourhood atmosphere.

“We also hold concerns about the potential impacts on retail and commercial precincts including general amenity, safety and economic viability, so we are calling on the community to have their say.

“While Council has no authority or decision-making powers in relation to this issue, we believe it is important that our community’s voice is heard.

“The Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 is currently before the Victorian Parliament and it is likely the Bill will be passed during the consultation period.

“However, given the significant impact these changes will have on our municipality, we believe it’s important to raise awareness of this issue.”

Residents and businesses are invited to share their views on the proposed Bill via a survey at conversations.melton.vic.gov.au

Results from the survey will be passed on to the Victorian Government so that they can be considered as part of any potential future amendments.

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