Sex worker's claims fail to arouse members

A SEX worker who wisely invested some of her earnings in Moranbah real estate, has lost an anti-discrimination case against one of the town's motel operators for refusing her a room to ply her trade in the future.

The worker, referred to as GK, had sought $30,000 from the managers of the Drovers Rest Motel comprising $20,000 in economic loss, as well as hurt and humiliation and a medical condition arising out of the matter.

The Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal was supplied with bank statements showing the southern Queensland-based prostitute had average daily earnings of $2000 and up from four to eight clients a day in the mining town.

Drovers Rest Motel licensee Evan John Hartley told the tribunal he and his wife returned to Moranbah in December 2009 to take over the running of the motel, which had become run down and known as a 'whorehouse'.

Subsequently, he gave instructions to his staff not to allow 'working girls' in.

Mr Hartley said he became aware GK was a sex worker on June 28, 2010, when men were seen coming in and out of room 17 which was directly opposite the office.

She was charged $200 for her stay, $65 above the daily room rate, and told the excess was for a cleaning fee.

Mr Hartley contended that under the Liquor Act 1992 he, as licensee, was unable to run, or permit to be run, a business out of the rooms other than accommodation.

He told the tribunal he had refused accommodation to other 'working girls'.

Mrs Hartley said she did not intend to humiliate GK when she made the comment she "did not want the motel used as a whorehouse".

GK never admitted to the Hartleys she was a sex worker.

"She admitted she is able to use other motels when she visits Moranbah, but that her ability to work from the town is minimised if she cannot obtain accommodation in a motel," the tribunal decision, dated October 25, noted.

"GK said she does not like to use only one motel. In that way she seeks to minimise her impact on the motel she uses.

GK informed QCAT on September 10 she had ceased working due to the ongoing demands and stress of the case.

Tribunal member Ann Fitzpatrick found the Hartleys were not refusing future accommodation because of her occupation as a sex worker, but because they did not want prostitution going on in their hotel.

She also found GK had suffered hurt and humiliation, stress and anxiety as a result of being at the motel on June 28/29, as well as economic loss.

But she cited the Liquor Act 1992 in finding GK had been conducting a business from the motel room.

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