Legislation and Business Information

In Victoria, full-service sex work is regulated by the
Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 (the Act).  


The Act was implemented in two stages, with the first legislative changes occurring on May 10 2022, and the second legislative changes occurring December 1 2023. For more information on the background and stages of the Act, see here

The Act was passed to ensure sex work is recognised as work and is regulated like other Victorian industries, as well as to improve the rights, wellbeing, and safety of Victorian sex workers. 

Sex work is regulated through different bodies including; 

  • Local councils,  
  • WorkSafe, 
  • Consumer Affairs Victoria (through the protection of consumer rights),
  • Department of Health, 
  • Fair Work Commission,
  • Liquor Control Victoria (if relevant). 

There is no longer a sex work licensing system in Victoria which historically regulated the provision of sexual services. Brothel-based sex work, independent sex work, and agency-based escorting have been decriminalised meaning that there are no criminal offences attached to this work, which is regulated in line with general employment laws. 

Sex services premises (such as brothels, escort agencies and erotic massage parlours) are now treated as ‘shops’ in Victorian Planning Schemes and are no longer restricted from applying for liquor licenses. 

Sex services premises are defined as: 

Land used to sell services involving the use or display of the body of the person providing the service for the sexual arousal or sexual gratification of another person while they are present on the land.
(Planning Advisory Note 79, pp 2)  

Sex services premises do not include sexually explicit entertainment venues and sex-on-premises venues (such as saunas, sex parties, and fetish events). They do  include brothels and erotic massage parlours. 

Below is some relevant information for sex industry business owners. 


Workplace Health and Safety 

Occupational health and safety involves protecting the health, safety and welfare of employees, subcontractors and other people. It’s commonly called OHS. If you work in the sex industry you have the right to be safe at work, regardless of your role. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) is a piece of legislation that sets standards and rules regarding the identification of hazards and control of risks, to keep Victorian workers safe. 

The OHS Act applies to the sex work industry in the same way as any other industry. All employers and employees have OHS rights, duties and protections. 

If you operate a sex industry business, it is important that you familiarise yourself with your responsibilities under the OHS Act.  

Worksafe have developed OHS resources in consultation with sex industry stakeholders to explain the OHS duties, rights and responsibilities of people who work in Victoria’s sex industry. You can find these resources on WorkSafe’s website.


 Planning Laws 

Sex services premises (such as brothels, escort agencies and erotic massage parlours) are now regulated like any other business and can operate anywhere a shop can in accordance with the relevant local planning schemes.  It’s important to note that some planning schemes will require a permit, whilst others may not.   

This advisory note explains the changes to Victoria’s sex industry planning regulations that were introduced by Amendment VC217 to the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) and all planning schemes. These changes were part of the decriminalisation of sex work in Victoria and came into operation on 1 December 2023. It should be read in conjunction with the Amendment VC217 explanatory report

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DWELP) has developed a technical guide to using Victoria’s planning system. This guide explains the planning scheme amendment process, the planning permit application process as well as other related processes. 

This page contains an overview of the planning permit process from initial consultation with neighbours and councils, to preparation of your application, and public notice. 


Liquor licence information 

Victorian sex work businesses can apply for liquor licences which are regulated by Liquor Control Victoria. If your sex industry business intends to provide sexually explicit entertainment, there is an additional notification form to complete (see below).   

Liquor licence information for the sex industry 

Sex services businesses, which includes brothels, escort agencies, and independent escorts working from home, but excludes sexually explicit entertainment venues, are able to apply for liquor licenses following the passing of the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022. Sexually explicit entertainment venues were already eligible to apply for liquor licences prior to the passing of this Act. The types of liquor licences that sex services businesses are able to apply for are outlined on this webpage by Liquor Control Victoria.

You can find more information on the types of liquor licences on the Victorian government’s Liquor homepage. To read about the relevant fees associated with liquor licenses see here.  You’ll need to consider what licence type works best for your business taking into consideration who is going to supply the alcohol (and might require a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate), which areas of your premises will be alcohol supply areas, and how many people you expect to be in the building at once.  To find out more about Responsible Service of Alcohol training in Victoria, see here

When preparing your liquor licence application you’ll likely need to include; 

  • local council planning permission, 
  • confirmation of trading hours, 
  • compliance with required training, 
  • red line plan, 
  • patron capacity declaration 
  • declaration of right to occupy premises. 
  • copy of newspaper advertisement. 

Venues providing sexually explicit entertainment (e.g. strip clubs) 

The Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 defines ‘sexually explicit entertainment’ as live entertainment that may be performed for an audience by a person performing an act of an explicit sexual nature. 

New licensees providing sexually explicit entertainment must notify LCV within 21 days of providing the entertainment. A penalty applies for failing to do so.

Venues that intend to supply alcohol and offer sexually explicit entertainment need to notify Liquor   Control Victoria by completing this notification form.  Fee information for sexually explicit entertainment venues is outlined on this notification form and individualised fees are stipulated by Liquor Control Victoria upon submission of application.


Department of Health 

The Department of Health has developed fit-for-purpose guidance for the sex industry in consultation with sex worker organisations and other key stakeholders. 

STI and BBV prevention for the sex industry 

Guidance for sex workers living with HIV 

As a business operator, you play an important role in supporting the health and safety of everyone in the workplace, this includes minimising the risk of the spread of STIs. To comply with OHS responsibilities you should provide the following:

  • Condoms and other safer sex supplies and protective equipment.
  • Accurate education and information on safer sex practices in a worker’s preferred language.
  • Training and support in conducting visual checks for visible symptoms of STIs (also called health checks).
  • The right to refuse or change services.
  • Clean linen and appropriate showering facilities.

RhED can provide training and education on sexual health, safer sex, and performing client health checks. Please get in touch if this is something you would like to organise.

You can contact us at sexworker@sexworker.org.au or 1800 458 752.