Outcome of NT prostitution law reform


The NT Legislative Assembly passed a new Act in 2019 to decriminalise sex work in the NT.

When the new Act commences in 2020, there will be no requirement for operators of sex work businesses or managers to obtain a licence.

An operator, or nominee of an operator, of a sex services business with three or more sex workers will have to obtain a suitability certificate from the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs.

A suitability certificate will identify if the person is a suitable person to operate a sex services business. Assessment of suitability will consider matters such as the person’s criminal history and compliance with occupational health and safety laws.

Individuals, whether working at premises by themselves as solo workers or with another worker, will no longer be required to obtain a licence and be on the private register of licensees.

Terminology changes in the new Act refer to the sex industry rather than prostitution. The term brothel is no longer used. Escort agency businesses are sex service businesses.

Sex workers will be able to conduct their business at the same premises where the sex work is arranged.

Under the 1992 Act, the planning laws do not apply. Currently, a lawful sex services business may operate in any location without consideration of the Planning Scheme.

If the application to amend the Planning Scheme is approved, the Planning Scheme will be able to regulate where sex services businesses may operate.

Up to two sex workers may provide services from their place of residence. However the residence cannot be next to a kindergarten, school, childcare centre, or place of worship, or in a restricted development zone.

The report is available under Outcomes of consultation and reviews: reports.

Strictly non sexual massage only

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