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Prostitution in  Australia and New Zealand

The legislation around prostitution in Australia and New Zealand is enacted at the state and territory level and it varies enormously.

There are currently three general ways of regulating the industry across Australia. Firstly, legalising certain commercial components of the industry, usually under a licensing scheme. This is the approach in Victoria and Queensland. Secondly, the decriminalising of prostitution in all its forms. This is the case in NSW and NT, where street prostitution is legal and brothels are regulated by local planning authorities as any other business is. Finally, some in some states such as South Australia and Western Australia, prostitution is criminalised. It should be noted, however, that both of these states have made repeated attempts to decriminalise the sector. Full details of the legislation in each state and territory can be found here. There are also different regulations in each state for escort work and sole operators which can be found in the legislations. The key elements of the legislation for each State are summarised in this table.

Prostitution in the Australian news presents a selection of newspaper articles and other media reports demonstrating the failures of the legislations in each state. CATWA has always maintained that the Nordic Model is the most appropriate form of legislation.

New Zealand has a fully decriminalised model of prostitution legislation that came into force in 2003. Details of the legislation, as well as newspaper articles illustrating the problems can be found here.