Operating as a small owner-operator

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On 22 February 2022, the Victorian Parliament passed the Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022. As a result, small owner-operators are no longer required to register with the Business Licensing Authority (BLA).  

However, small owner-operators must still comply with the other requirements listed on this page. 

Notification requirements  

The small owner-operator notification requirements have ceased. This means you can continue to rely on your small owner-operator exemption, however:   

  • you are no longer required to notify the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) that you are a small owner-operator  
  • you are not required to maintain or update any of your details with the BLA  
  • you will no longer receive annual statements to complete and lodge with the BLA.  

You must continue to comply with all other applicable requirements under the Sex Work Act 1994

Planning permit 

If you intend to operate a small owner-operated brothel, you must obtain a planning permit from your local council to do so for the nominated premises. 

Interstate-based small owner operators 

Small owner-operators based outside Victoria, who operate or provide services in Victoria must comply with the Sex Work Act 1994 and the Sex Work Regulations 2016, including any amendments. 

For more information on relevant legislation and regulation view Legislation and regulation

Advertising controls  

Sex work industry advertising controls under the Sex Work Act 1994 and regulations have been repealed. 

Sex workers and sex work businesses no longer need to include a Sex Work Act (SWA) number in their ads. 

Sex work businesses are able to: 

  • advertise vacant positions or job openings 
  • describe services offered or not offered in advertisements 
  • use terms associated with massage in advertisements if that is a relevant description of services provided 
  • include references to safer sex practices in advertisements 
  • include photographs or other pictorial representations, including of nudity, in advertisements 

Businesses must still comply with the rules and requirements of the advertising host.  

It continues to be a crime to deceptively recruit a person into sex work under the Crimes Act 1958. An example of deceptive recruitment may be advertising a job without reference to any sex work, and when the person arrives to commence work, it is revealed the role involves sex work. 

Other changes  

Other changes that commenced on 10 May 2022 include:  

  • the removal, in most circumstances, of offences and penalties for adults participating in consensual sex work 
  • the introduction of anti-discrimination protections for sex workers.

More information is available at Decriminalising sex work in Victoria