Sex industry operators kept at a distance

BROTHELS and adult shops in the Whitsunday region can no longer operate near children’s play areas, schools, kindergartens, churches or even Airlie Beach’s lagoon.

Last week the Whitsunday Regional Council adopted an amendment to the region’s planning scheme that bans adult operators from trading within 200 metres of children’s facilities, churches and other venues at the discretion of the council.

Mayor Mike Brunker said the amendment, that gave the council much stricter control over the operation of adult venues and retail outlets, introduced definitions of “adult shop”, “adult entertainment” and “brothel”.

He said under the previous planning scheme the venues were not defined separately and therefore fell under the broader definition of “commercial premises”, which allowed them to operate freely.

“When an adult shop first wanted to open up near a Catholic school in Proserpine, we had a look at the plan ... there was nothing in it to stop it, so we got in and along with the State Government amended our planning scheme,” Cr Brunker said.

“We are not taking the high moral ground saying we don’t want any adult shops in town. We realise they are a part of our society, but we are going to have a say on where they can go,” he said.

“They won’t be able to operate anywhere near where children play. Near the lagoon in the main street .... we would say no.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe said the changes came after a statewide review of adult stores sites.

“These new laws will provide a consistent approach to the location of adult stores; however, councils will be able to use alternative provisions in their planning schemes to suit their local circumstances,” Mr Hinchliffe said.



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