ENTREPRENEURS hoping to make a fast buck by opening a brothel in Blackwater or Emerald have been left deflated by a council decision to ban any such establishment.
Development Services manager Luke Lankowski told Monday’s Central Highlands Regional Council meeting there had been “a number of inquiries” as recently as last month, regarding the possibility of brothels in the two towns.
“The inquiries received to date have been of a preliminary nature but are likely to result in an application being lodged,” Mr Lankowski said.
Councillors agreed to make application to Police Minister Neil Roberts to allow the CHRC to automatically refuse all development applications for brothels.
Emerald, Tieri and Capella are the only townships that currently have the exemption.
“These exemptions were previously applied for by the former Emerald and Peak Downs shire councils and subsequently granted prior to amalgamation,” said Mayor Peter Maguire, adding the application would provide consistency and uniformity to council’s position.
“The application is being made in accordance with the Prostitution Act 1999, where local governments with towns with populations under 25,000 can apply for exemption. All of our townships are well under this threshold, and as such we would question whether there is a real need for facilities of this nature to serve our local communities.”
Emerald’s Di Hancock-Mills, who stood as a candidate for Family First in the Federal Election, welcomed council’s stance.
“I think having (brothels) banned in the Central Highlands is the best thing that could happen,” said Mrs Hancock-Mills.
“We are trying to make this a family community and to keep it as such, they’re not required here.
“People that are fly-in, fly-out don’t need to visit those sorts of things – they’re going to go back to where they can get it.”
Mrs Hancock-Mills said she believed small businesses would be anti any brothel, in any town.
Cr Maguire said council “carefully considered all sides of this argument, and from a social and community perspective, we feel that we have made the right decision in the interests of our residents”.
The exemptions only apply to brothel applications (that is two or more sex workers operating from a premises).
It is lawful, subject to a licence from the Prostitution Licensing Authority for a sole sex worker to work from a premises (subject to conditions).
A spokesperson said council’s decision does not change that, and thus any existing ‘need’ could be met.
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