Leichhardt Council is planning an expansion of random audits of brothels in the local government area, following a Sydney Morning Herald report that unlicensed brothel owners were expanding their operations along Parramatta Road.
The Herald report identifed Vasilios Perdikaris as operating the Thai Treatment Centre on Parramatta Road brothel as an unauthorised brothel. The Centre, which purports to offer “therapeutic massage”, was identified by council in April 2013 as operating illegally because its original development application was for a remedial clinic.
Mayor Darcy Byrne’s motion called on council to investigate “illegal” brothels and have their closure fast-tracked using the Restricted Premises Act 1943, which allows “circumstantial evidence” rather than the “long and detailed process” of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Kylie Tattersall, executive director of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, said complaints about brothels need to be dealt with using an evidence-based approach rather than a moral framework.
“There is no such thing as an “illegal” brothel in NSW, just an unauthorised brothel,” she said. “This is because in NSW sex work is decriminalised, and a brothel has either been approved by the local council or it hasn’t.”
A spokesperson confirmed Leichhardt Council would seek information regarding unauthorised brothels “from a number of sources” as well as auditing premises.
Ms Tattersall said SWOP would work with council to “ensure the health safety and well-being of sex workers in their local area”.
With Michael Koziol