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Scarlet Alliance Media Release "Brothel Regulation Inquiry: Hartcher covers up Council ineptitude" 21 Sept 2012

Scarlet Alliance opposes the introduction of licensing and registration as proposed by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, assisted by an inter-agency Working Party for brothel regulation. Special Minister of State Chris Hartcher yesterday announced an inquiry to curb the alleged proliferation of illegal brothels. But sex workers disagree, saying the only proliferation is of Local Council mismanagement of the issue.

"Bipartisan support decriminalised sex work after the Wood Royal Commission almost two decades ago. But local councils faltered, turning down virtually all brothel DA applications, leaving the industry out on a limb,” Elena Jeffreys of Scarlet Alliance responded to Hartchers announcement yesterday

"Decriminalisation in NSW is world-renowned as the best model for the occupational health and safety, industrial rights and human rights of sex workers." Elena Jeffreys said today. "Using Council failure as an excuse to take away sex workers rights is corruption at the highest level, and is a cover-up for Hartchers former local council mates."

The regulatory approaches put forward by Hartcher are contrary to Australia’s National HIV and STI Strategies, in opposition to Australia’s whole-of-government approach to Social Inclusion, and against United Nations human rights recommendations.

"These are not progressive reforms. They will put sex worker health and safety back 17 years." Elena Jeffreys stated.

NSW Guidelines are in place which are worlds best, but only if Local Councillors apply them. Ms Jeffreys says, “We do not need reforms to the current laws. We need Local Councils to step up and proactively apply them. Councils need to meet their responsibilities to sex worker health and human rights, and Hartcher needs to stop blaming sex workers for years of Local Council mistakes."

"This backwards step does not have the support of sex workers or our allies. The Kirby Institute’s 2012 report on the Sex Industry in NSW to the NSW Ministry of Health clearly states that licensing is a threat to public health and recommends that licensing should not be regarded as a viable legislative response," Elena Jeffreys concluded today.

The 51 page discussion paper released by Hartchers office yesterday requires submission responses by the 12th of October.

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