June 19, 2012

Largest brothel in Australia gets council approval despite complaints

Workers at the brothel 'Stiletto' in Camperdown, Sydney. Picture: Dean Marzolla
MORAL complaints and concerns about noise and alcohol abuse could not prevent a local council from approving Australia's largest brothel.

Councils can regulate how many pets you have and whether you can build a big cubby house for the kids, but Sydney City Council was powerless to stop the approval of a new super brothel. 

In the end, the biggest obstacles to the ‘mega brothel’ were parking concerns and the ratio of patrons to sex workers.

Stiletto has won an appeal against the Sydney City Council to boost its room numbers from 19 to 40. The Land and Environment Court gave owner Eddie Hayson the go ahead for a $12 million expansion that will double the number of rooms and add three storeys to the existing brothel in Camperdown.

The council rejected the original plans last year with Councillor Shayne Mallard calling it the “Westfield of brothels”.

But the court found any moral objections were irrelevant, and that with no maximum size set for legal brothels, and “no evidence that there is any crime associated with the existing brothel”, Stiletto could upsize to 40 rooms.

Brothel owner Eddie Hayson. Picture: Ross Schultz
They did, however, limit the number of patrons who can visit the brothel at any one time to 60, so the ratio will be set at 1.5 patrons per sex worker, while Stiletto wanted about three patrons per sex worker.

In public submissions people complained about illegal service of alcohol, drunken patrons, apparently drug-affected workers, safety concerns, noise problems, and possible decreases in property values – but the most common concern was parking.

Ultimately the court found these impacts could be managed, and that any moral concerns didn’t matter.

“The issue of a moral objection to the nature of the activities of a sex premises were raised by some of the public submissions and resident objectors,” the judgement found.

 “As a sex premises is a legal land use and permissible in the Mixed Use zone with consent, moral objections to the proposal are not relevant considerations.”

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