Proposed brothel sparks moral debate

ABOUT 20 objections and one submission in support of a brothel to be built in Traralgon have been sent to Latrobe City’s planning team.

Council has received a planning permit application for an exempt brothel in Standing Drive, lodged by Secret Angels 444. It would be a small owner-operated business employing two female sex work service providers.

Nearby business owners have spoken with The Express about their concerns, citing security risks and potential loss of clients.

Latrobe City general manager of city development Phil Stone said council would initially respond in writing to address submitters’ concerns, where applicable.

“It is considered appropriate to… provide clarification on certain points of information,” Mr Stone said.

“And to outline what can and can’t be considered in the assessment of a planning application.”

Councils must consider the consistency of planning permit applications in line with relevant planning policies, including the Planning and Environment Act 1987; State and Local Planning Framework and the zoning of the land.

Mr Stone said in this instance the relevant considerations also involved Clause 52.46 Brothels of the Latrobe Planning Scheme and the Sex Work Act 1994.

Although a stakeholder meeting could take place once council has sent out its written responses, Mr Stone said this may not be necessary.

“Many of the objections are ‘in principle’ or ‘moral’ objections, so a stakeholder meeting may not provide added benefit to the process either for objectors or the applicant,” he said.

Mr Stone pointed to Section 73 of the Sex Work Act, which outlines how such applications should be considered due to their sensitive nature.

“The planning assessment also needs to include relevant objections to the planning permit application,” Mr Stone said.

“Objections on morality grounds are not considered relevant planning grounds in the assessment of an application.”

Although the public submissions period has officially ended, Latrobe City will accept submissions until the application comes before councillors.

This is expected to occur at a meeting in February.