Brothel above office “inconvenient”: Rees

By Staff Writer

NSW Premier Nathan Rees has said it was “inconvenient” to have an unlawful brothel operating right above his electoral office in western Sydney, but it was not his job to investigate it.

According to media reports, Mr Rees moved his office to Seven Hills in early September below a Chinese massage parlour, but soon discovered the business was offering unlawful sexual services starting at $20.

A spokesman for the Premier confirmed media his office had filed a complaint with Blacktown Council, requesting the removal of the unauthorised business.

Following an immediate council inspection, the business was issued with a cease-and-desist order, but it continued to operate.

The spokesman said the situation was “a little frustrating” and the office was awaiting the result of the investigation.

“We are, in effect, just tenants and it would be inappropriate for us to come in over the top of everybody else,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Mr Rees said the issue was relatively minor, and the council was dealing with the issue in accordance with a “well-established process”.

“On a nuisance factor of zero to 10, given the other issues that I deal with day-to-day, hour-to-hour, it’s a factor of about 1 ½,” he told reporters.

“It is not my job to investigate it myself. It’s in the hands of the appropriate authorities.”

Blacktown Council spokesman told the paper while it had immediately taken available measures under the legislation, the process of monitoring and controlling the businesses still remained complex.

Businesses offering sexual services had been decriminalised for about a decade. The toughened brothels act became effective last October endowing councils with the power to issue an order to shut down the business in five working days, but critics say the complicated legislation failed to function as a strong deterrent.

Mr Rees said he was not planning to relocate his office and the matter was due to go before court in December.

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