Media Response Illegal Brothels 2018

Questions and Responses

We have been contacted by a representative of the Australian Adult Entertainment Industry. As far as I understand, they would like council to be more proactive in dealing with illegal brothels in Monash (he has communicated with multiple people at council). He says that while police are the lead agency, council does have the power to do something, forcing them to shut down etc. He is not blaming council per se, I think would just like more done, given council has legal support. He said there were eight legal brothels in Monash about 20 illegal.

Is council aware of illegal brothels in Monash and what action is being taken?

Our officers routinely investigate premises and have been successful in fining operators and at times closing premises when they are found to be in breach of the Planning Scheme.   Victoria Police has also undertaken a number of investigations and been successful in shutting down a number of premises in the municipality in recent years.  These include premises in Mount Waverley, Chadstone, Oakleigh and Oakleigh South and there are more currently under investigation. 

Evidence is needed to take action on illegal brothels, not simply allegations, however allegations that are reported to Council are thoroughly investigated.

What powers does council have to combat illegal brothels?

Council Planning Investigation Officers can shutdown illegal premises under the Monash Planning Scheme. Council works closely with the Sex Industry Coordination Unit of Victoria Police who are the lead agency and are best equipped to deal with illegal brothels.  

Why is it important to deal with this?

We take these matters seriously and operate within the parameters of our legal powers. We take seriously the health and safety of people working and visiting brothels as well as community expectations about stopping illegal brothel operators.  These illegal premises do not have the same controls as legal premises to ensure that they are safe.  That’s why we work closely with Victoria Police, who are the most appropriate agency to ultimately deal with the operation of illegal brothels.

How many illegal brothels has/does council shut down?

 Council has been involved in Police action, which has closed down four illegals brothels in recent years, and there have been some others where the illegal uses have ceased and left a premises once Council started making enquiries.

Provided to: Monash Leader

Quoting: Mayor Shane McCluskey

Date: 30 November 2018