Stage 2 of partial Decriminalisation passed at last!

Recent law changes in Victoria have brought about about many important and urgently needed changes that improve workplace health and safety, access to industrial protections, health, justice and safety for sex workers. Critically, the Bill will repeal the problematic and ineffective Sex Work Act 1994. The Sex Work Act 1994 has long violated sex workers’ rights to privacy and confidentiality, to free choice of employment and to just and favourable conditions of work, equal protections and treatment before the law.

While the licensing system has been repealed, this partial Decriminalisation still regulates when and where street-based sex workers can work. Without full decriminalisation for all sex workers, including street based sex workers, Victoria has not yet achieved full Decriminalisation. For more information about street-based sex work, please see here. Throughout this process, sex workers have been loud and clear that we will accept nothing less than the full Decriminalisation of all forms of sex work, for every member of our community. We will keep fighting to ensure that this unfinished business is addressed.

Stage 2 changes for sex workers – from 1st December 2023. 

  • The licensing system will be completely phased out with the repeal of the Sex Work Act 1994.
  • Changes to planning controls – laws around working from home and changes regarding the BLA – will come into operation that will treat our work like any other business, and local councils cannot undermine decriminalisation.
  • Independent, private sex workers and sex worker collectives can work from home. Independent, private sex workers and sex worker collectives of up to 3 people can work from home, operating as a “home-based business” without a permit in residential locations. A “home-based business” in Victoria is defined as a person working at their ‘principal place of residence’.
  • Sex industry specific controls for brothel, escort and independent/private work in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 will be removed. Sex services premises may operate without a permit in ‘commercial one’ zones, also known as C1Z, in metro Melbourne.
  • There will be an establishment of appropriate liquor controls for the sex work businesses.
  • Home-based business regulations do not apply to hotels, boarding houses or short-stay accommodation. Whether or not you are able to do sex work from these kinds of premises depends on the terms and conditions set by the venue. Some may prohibit guests from conducting any kind of business from the premises, however, they cannot discriminate against sex work or sex workers. If you feel you have been treated unfairly by a short-term accommodation provider or other venue, please contact Vixen.

For information on the changes that occurred in Stage 1 (passed on May 10th 2022) please visit our Decrim Info Hub!

We will be publishing resources about Decriminalisation and related topics (including WHS and planning) soon, so watch this space!