In Victoria, the Minister for Consumer Affairs is responsible for regulating the sex industry. One of the responsibilities of the Minister is to appoint members of the Sex Work Ministerial Advisory Committee, in which key stakeholders provide recommendations to the Minister about issues relating to the regulation of sex work.
The former Minister, Marlene Kairouz, held the position for four years from 2016–2020. It was disappointing that the Sex Work Ministerial Advisory Committee did not meet during Minister Kairouz’s time as Minister. The Minister is responsible for appointing members and by law, the Committee was meant to have met regularly.
The Sex Work Ministerial Advisory Committee was one mechanism to keep the government in touch with key sex industry stakeholders. MP’s, along with the general public, don’t necessarily understand the needs and concerns of sex workers. With the media always keen to simplify sex work and misrepresent sex workers, governments need to make deliberate and repeated efforts to speak to, listen to and consider the views of sex workers. Unless people have visited brothels or have friends who are sex workers and who are open about what they do, how could anyone be expected to understand our industry?
The sex industry will benefit if the Committee is reinstated. Later in 2020, we sincerely hope this will occur.