Griffith's first legal brothel nears completion, drawing mixed reactions

The brothel on Hams Street, Griffith.

The brothel on Hams Street, Griffith.

A controversial brothel, which Griffith City Council fought twice in the NSW Land and Environment Court, appears to be nearing completion.

The former Risque Adult Boutique building in Griffith’s industrial area has been given a fresh coat of paint and a large fence has been erected around it. A new metal railing has also been installed around the second floor of the building.

A submission to turn the building into a brothel went before Griffith City Council in October, 2010 and was rejected. The submission provided for up to four sex workers to service clients between 10am and 3am seven days a week. The legal battle, which saw the brothel approved by the court, reportedly cost Griffith City Council about $15,500.

Deputy mayor Doug Curran voted against the brothel in 2010 because it wasn’t allowed by council’s policies.

“The policy prohibited restricted premises or brothels within 200 metres of any place likely to be visited by children,” Cr Curran said.

While the brothel is 240 metres from a dance studio by car, it is only 143 metres ‘as the crow flies’.

“We have policies in place so everyone gets the same treatment across the board,” Cr Curran said.

“We did the right thing rejecting the brothel on that basis, but the Land and Environment Court disagreed with us.”

The building in 2010 when it was Risque Adult Boutique.

The building in 2010 when it was Risque Adult Boutique.

A sex worker who calls herself ‘Holly’ doubted Griffith was big enough to support a brothel.

“Two workers would be enough for the whole town,” Holly said.

Holly said sex wasn’t an industrial business and shouldn’t be located in an industrial area.

“Workers need somewhere safe to work where they don’t have to give away half of their pay,” she said. “The emphasis should be on independent workers being able to conduct their business in a safe place.”

Holly said council should change their policies to allow sex workers to carry out their business in their own homes rather than being forced into risky situations like ‘outcalls’ or working illegally.

Catholic priest Father Andrew Grace said the sex trade was degrading to women and the brothel was sad for Griffith.

“This is a big blow for families and married life in our area,” Father Grace said. “Human sexuality is a beautiful gift from God to be shared between husband and wife. Brothels cheapen it.”

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