Government to decriminalise sex work

Published Monday, 24 April, 2023 at 02:00 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

  • A review of a decriminalised framework for the sex work industry has been completed by the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) with findings provided to Government.
  • The QLRC’s recommendations provide a framework to enact a safe, decriminalised sex work industry, while improving the health, safety, rights and legal protections for workers.
  • The Palaszczuk Government broadly supports the recommendations and is committed to decriminalising the sex work industry to protect the rights of all Queenslanders, while balancing the needs and expectations of the community.
  • The Queensland Government will carefully consider the QLRC’s recommendations in future legislation.

An independent review of a decriminalised sex work industry in Queensland has been finalised, making 47 recommendations and providing a supportive framework for implementation.

The Palaszczuk Government has indicated its broad support for the recommendations and announced its commitment to decriminalising sex work in Queensland.

The QLRC review included extensive evidence-based research and consultation with stakeholder groups and the public, while considering laws in other Australian jurisdictions, including the Northern Territory, Victoria, New South Wales and New Zealand.

Findings note the need for a modernisation of Queensland laws and legislation surrounding the sex work industry, with the same general laws applying to businesses and workers without discrimination.

Recommendations include changes to the current licensing system and removing barriers to workers using safety strategies which are currently criminalised.

While the QLRC’s recommendations did not include regulation of the adult entertainment industry or amendments to the Liquor Act 1992, the Queensland Government will work with relevant stakeholders to consider these issues.

The Queensland Government will undertake consultation on any future legislation to implement a decriminalised framework.

A copy of the report: A decriminalised sex-work industry for Queensland is available online at: 

Quotes attributable to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman:

“The Palaszczuk Government broadly supports the QLRC’s recommendations and is committed to decriminalising the sex work industry – improving safety for workers while meeting the expectations of the community.”

“As part of its review, the QLRC found that a majority of submissions from across the State were overwhelmingly opposed to any continued criminal law specifically targeting sex workers.”

“The Law Reform Commission found that the current laws stigmatise sex workers, increase their vulnerability to exploitation and violence and fail to protect their human rights.”

“The review has provided the opportunity to consider how best to modernise our laws, support business in the state, and reduce discrimination and stigma associated with workers in the sex work industry.”

“We will now consider how to best implement laws and regulations that will afford sex workers the same rights and legal protections as any other business or industry.”

“I’d like to thank the QLRC and its staff for their comprehensive work preparing recommendations for a decriminalised framework that will now be thoroughly examined by the State Government.”


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