Sex whilst on the Rocks Melbourne City Council to resume practice of paying for prostitutes in the name of research

It is against the law and a questionable act of deceit but Melbourne City Council, whilst facing cut backs and a possible further increase in direct and indirect taxes, will consider resumption of the past practice and pay for services of illegal prostitution all in the “name of research“.

Melbourne City Council earlier this year came under criticism when employees of the City Council were found to have claimed expenses of services of sex workers in fulfillment of their duties. The Council’s CEO David Pitchford said that this expense was necessary in order for Council staff and contractors to obtain inside information on the sex trade within the city borders.

It is unclear if past or current Councillors have also claimed such expenses when visiting overseas cities or if the costs were included in Council’s hotel bills. (One trip to St Petersburg involved the City Council paying expenses for a city councillor well over $800 a night for accommodation meals and services. The costs went unreported due to the City Council not having remitted all expenses related to the ex-City Councillor’s Mid-night-sun-tour of the sex capital of Eastern Europe.)

Serious questions are being asked about the council applying tactics in the gathering of evidence that will not stand up in a court of law and in the process leave the council open to allegations of abuse and misuse of limited resources.

The City Council will decide the question of resumption of Council sex worker funding next week. Source: ABC Online News

Sex whilst on the Rocks Melbourne City Council to resume practice of paying for prostitutes in the name of research

It is against the law and a questionable act of deceit but Melbourne City Council, whilst facing cut backs and a possible further increase in direct and indirect taxes, will consider resumption of the past practice and pay for services of illegal prostitution all in the “name of research“.

Melbourne City Council earlier this year came under criticism when employees of the City Council were found to have claimed expenses of services of sex workers in fulfillment of their duties. The Council’s CEO David Pitchford said that this expense was necessary in order for Council staff and contractors to obtain inside information on the sex trade within the city borders.

It is unclear if past or current Councillors have also claimed such expenses when visiting overseas cities or if the costs were included in Council’s hotel bills. (One trip to St Petersburg involved the City Council paying expenses for a city councillor well over $800 a night for accommodation meals and services. The costs went unreported due to the City Council not having remitted all expenses related to the ex-City Councillor’s Mid-night-sun-tour of the sex capital of Eastern Europe.)

Serious questions are being asked about the council applying tactics in the gathering of evidence that will not stand up in a court of law and in the process leave the council open to allegations of abuse and misuse of limited resources.

The City Council will decide the question of resumption of Council sex worker funding next week. Source: ABC Online News

Sex whilst on the Rocks Melbourne City Council to resume practice of paying for prostitutes in the name of research

It is against the law and a questionable act of deceit but Melbourne City Council, whilst facing cut backs and a possible further increase in direct and indirect taxes, will consider resumption of the past practice and pay for services of illegal prostitution all in the “name of research“.

Melbourne City Council earlier this year came under criticism when employees of the City Council were found to have claimed expenses of services of sex workers in fulfillment of their duties. The Council’s CEO David Pitchford said that this expense was necessary in order for Council staff and contractors to obtain inside information on the sex trade within the city borders.

It is unclear if past or current Councillors have also claimed such expenses when visiting overseas cities or if the costs were included in Council’s hotel bills. (One trip to St Petersburg involved the City Council paying expenses for a city councillor well over $800 a night for accommodation meals and services. The costs went unreported due to the City Council not having remitted all expenses related to the ex-City Councillor’s Mid-night-sun-tour of the sex capital of Eastern Europe.)

Serious questions are being asked about the council applying tactics in the gathering of evidence that will not stand up in a court of law and in the process leave the council open to allegations of abuse and misuse of limited resources.

The City Council will decide the question of resumption of Council sex worker funding next week. Source: ABC Online News

Fringe Benefits stripped Melbourne City Council rejects out of pocket expense payments for the hiring of prostitutes

Melbourne City Council CEO, David Pitchford, bowing to pressure form ratepayers outraged at recent revelations that the City Council was paying out-of-pocket-expenses for the hire of prostitutes occurred during fact finding missions.

The city Council will now seek to hand over the job to the State Government following revelations that the Council had funded staff paying for prostitutes services.

The report in the Age newspaper (Copy below) states “There are fears in the council that dropping the practice could lead to a proliferation of illegal brothels in the city centre”.

Swanston Street, Melbourne’s premier boulevard, home to the City Council itself has long been the location and establishment of Adult entertainment venues which the Council has failed to close down.

It is understood that the City Council staff are frequent visitors to various adult entertainment venues around town. One popular venue was the tavern at the corner of Russel Street and Little Collins Street (just up the road from Council House 1 and 2) where many Councillor Staff could be found during and after work hours.

The announcement by David Pitchford will now mean that Council Staff, and hopefully Councillors, will not be able to claim sex services as an out-of-pocket-expense and expect the ratepayers to pick up the tab. (It is unclear if the costs of additional services was included in a former City Councillor’s hotel expenses on his visit in 2003 to Melbourne’s sister City St. Petersburg. The cost of accommodation was $800.00 a night)

Ratepayers should not be expected to fund such extra-curricular activities.

The money already paid out should be refunded and the person in the Council administration that approved the payment of expenses related to the hiring of sex workers should be stripped of their authority and summarily dismissed.

Council drops brothel sex spies
Clay Lucas
February 6, 2007

MELBOURNE City Council will no longer pay for sex.

The council is set to dump its policy, revealed last month, of sending private investigators into illegal brothels to have sex with prostitutes.

At least six Melbourne councils last month confirmed they had paid private investigators to visit illegal brothels as a method of obtaining evidence.

The private investigators — who were claiming the sex as expenses, on top of their hourly billing fee — would swear affidavits for councils that they had received sexual services from a prostitute at the property.

The affidavit would then be used in court action by the council as proof the premises was breaching planning laws.

Last night, chief executive David Pitchford issued a short statement saying Melbourne City Council would stop the practice.

Council officers would “review existing practices in relation to the use of private investigators in actions against illegal brothels”, he said.

It is believed Lord Mayor John So, overseas until next week and not available for comment, is behind the policy change.

Cr Peter Clarke, who discussed the issue with the Lord Mayor last month, confirmed Cr So had opposed employing investigators to gather evidence.

“John has agreed to ask the State Government to change the Prostitution Control Act so that Consumer Affairs Victoria are doing this enforcement, not us,” Cr Clarke said.

There are fears in the council that dropping the practice could lead to a proliferation of illegal brothels in the city centre.

Legal advice to the council said using private investigators to gather evidence against illegal brothels was a “watertight” way to win court cases. In cases against illegal brothels where private investigators were employed to gather evidence that sexual services were being provided, the council consistently won. The council usually had costs awarded, meaning the illegal operator pays all expenses and ratepayers are not out of pocket.

The Australian Adult Entertainment Association, which works for the legal sex industry, has long claimed there is a proliferation of illegal brothels operating in Victoria.

Fringe Benefits stripped Melbourne City Council rejects out of pocket expense payments for the hiring of prostitutes

Melbourne City Council CEO, David Pitchford, bowing to pressure form ratepayers outraged at recent revelations that the City Council was paying out-of-pocket-expenses for the hire of prostitutes occurred during fact finding missions.

The city Council will now seek to hand over the job to the State Government following revelations that the Council had funded staff paying for prostitutes services.

The report in the Age newspaper (Copy below) states “There are fears in the council that dropping the practice could lead to a proliferation of illegal brothels in the city centre”.

Swanston Street, Melbourne’s premier boulevard, home to the City Council itself has long been the location and establishment of Adult entertainment venues which the Council has failed to close down.

It is understood that the City Council staff are frequent visitors to various adult entertainment venues around town. One popular venue was the tavern at the corner of Russel Street and Little Collins Street (just up the road from Council House 1 and 2) where many Councillor Staff could be found during and after work hours.

The announcement by David Pitchford will now mean that Council Staff, and hopefully Councillors, will not be able to claim sex services as an out-of-pocket-expense and expect the ratepayers to pick up the tab. (It is unclear if the costs of additional services was included in a former City Councillor’s hotel expenses on his visit in 2003 to Melbourne’s sister City St. Petersburg. The cost of accommodation was $800.00 a night)

Ratepayers should not be expected to fund such extra-curricular activities.

The money already paid out should be refunded and the person in the Council administration that approved the payment of expenses related to the hiring of sex workers should be stripped of their authority and summarily dismissed.

Council drops brothel sex spies
Clay Lucas
February 6, 2007

MELBOURNE City Council will no longer pay for sex.

The council is set to dump its policy, revealed last month, of sending private investigators into illegal brothels to have sex with prostitutes.

At least six Melbourne councils last month confirmed they had paid private investigators to visit illegal brothels as a method of obtaining evidence.

The private investigators — who were claiming the sex as expenses, on top of their hourly billing fee — would swear affidavits for councils that they had received sexual services from a prostitute at the property.

The affidavit would then be used in court action by the council as proof the premises was breaching planning laws.

Last night, chief executive David Pitchford issued a short statement saying Melbourne City Council would stop the practice.

Council officers would “review existing practices in relation to the use of private investigators in actions against illegal brothels”, he said.

It is believed Lord Mayor John So, overseas until next week and not available for comment, is behind the policy change.

Cr Peter Clarke, who discussed the issue with the Lord Mayor last month, confirmed Cr So had opposed employing investigators to gather evidence.

“John has agreed to ask the State Government to change the Prostitution Control Act so that Consumer Affairs Victoria are doing this enforcement, not us,” Cr Clarke said.

There are fears in the council that dropping the practice could lead to a proliferation of illegal brothels in the city centre.

Legal advice to the council said using private investigators to gather evidence against illegal brothels was a “watertight” way to win court cases. In cases against illegal brothels where private investigators were employed to gather evidence that sexual services were being provided, the council consistently won. The council usually had costs awarded, meaning the illegal operator pays all expenses and ratepayers are not out of pocket.

The Australian Adult Entertainment Association, which works for the legal sex industry, has long claimed there is a proliferation of illegal brothels operating in Victoria.

Fringe Benefits stripped Melbourne City Council rejects out of pocket expense payments for the hiring of prostitutes

Melbourne City Council CEO, David Pitchford, bowing to pressure form ratepayers outraged at recent revelations that the City Council was paying out-of-pocket-expenses for the hire of prostitutes occurred during fact finding missions.

The city Council will now seek to hand over the job to the State Government following revelations that the Council had funded staff paying for prostitutes services.

The report in the Age newspaper (Copy below) states “There are fears in the council that dropping the practice could lead to a proliferation of illegal brothels in the city centre”.

Swanston Street, Melbourne’s premier boulevard, home to the City Council itself has long been the location and establishment of Adult entertainment venues which the Council has failed to close down.

It is understood that the City Council staff are frequent visitors to various adult entertainment venues around town. One popular venue was the tavern at the corner of Russel Street and Little Collins Street (just up the road from Council House 1 and 2) where many Councillor Staff could be found during and after work hours.

The announcement by David Pitchford will now mean that Council Staff, and hopefully Councillors, will not be able to claim sex services as an out-of-pocket-expense and expect the ratepayers to pick up the tab. (It is unclear if the costs of additional services was included in a former City Councillor’s hotel expenses on his visit in 2003 to Melbourne’s sister City St. Petersburg. The cost of accommodation was $800.00 a night)

Ratepayers should not be expected to fund such extra-curricular activities.

The money already paid out should be refunded and the person in the Council administration that approved the payment of expenses related to the hiring of sex workers should be stripped of their authority and summarily dismissed.

Council drops brothel sex spies
Clay Lucas
February 6, 2007

MELBOURNE City Council will no longer pay for sex.

The council is set to dump its policy, revealed last month, of sending private investigators into illegal brothels to have sex with prostitutes.

At least six Melbourne councils last month confirmed they had paid private investigators to visit illegal brothels as a method of obtaining evidence.

The private investigators — who were claiming the sex as expenses, on top of their hourly billing fee — would swear affidavits for councils that they had received sexual services from a prostitute at the property.

The affidavit would then be used in court action by the council as proof the premises was breaching planning laws.

Last night, chief executive David Pitchford issued a short statement saying Melbourne City Council would stop the practice.

Council officers would “review existing practices in relation to the use of private investigators in actions against illegal brothels”, he said.

It is believed Lord Mayor John So, overseas until next week and not available for comment, is behind the policy change.

Cr Peter Clarke, who discussed the issue with the Lord Mayor last month, confirmed Cr So had opposed employing investigators to gather evidence.

“John has agreed to ask the State Government to change the Prostitution Control Act so that Consumer Affairs Victoria are doing this enforcement, not us,” Cr Clarke said.

There are fears in the council that dropping the practice could lead to a proliferation of illegal brothels in the city centre.

Legal advice to the council said using private investigators to gather evidence against illegal brothels was a “watertight” way to win court cases. In cases against illegal brothels where private investigators were employed to gather evidence that sexual services were being provided, the council consistently won. The council usually had costs awarded, meaning the illegal operator pays all expenses and ratepayers are not out of pocket.

The Australian Adult Entertainment Association, which works for the legal sex industry, has long claimed there is a proliferation of illegal brothels operating in Victoria.

Out of pocket expenses Melbourne City Council pays hookers claiming in the name of market research

Melbourne City Council paying prostitutes for services in the name of research.

the City of Melbourne has forked out an unknown amount of money for research into prostituting. What’s next a world tour of the worlds “hot spots” to facility the marketing of Melbourne’s adult entertainment services. Melbourne’s Premier Street “Swanston Street”, in spite the City Council’s promises to clean up the City Center, continues to be one of the City’s main locations for sex shows and adult entertainment.

Questions have been asked by senior law enforcement officials as to the merits and legality of the City Council’s actions. (What advise did Alison Lyons, disgraced former City of Melbourne’s Legal advisor now working for the MAV, provide Dick Gross)

Many question are remain unanswered as to the occupational and safety aspects of the contract and quality research undertaken. Was there any bias in the quality research and sampling?

When Melbourne’s Chief executive, David Pitchford, said that these investigators which had paid for sexual services had acted “voluntarily”. Did the City Council get satisfaction for the money spent and paid for by ratepayers. Was it a tender contract with discrimination based on the service providers marital or sexual preferences? What qualifications were required and what basis of justification was made for this disgraceful public conduct? What details of reporting has been made to the City Council and will the reports be made public and or subject to FOI? or is is a “R” rated report?

Does this mean that our City Councillors can now claim out of pocket expenses for money paid to sex workers?

Maybe this explains why the City Council paid $800 a night in accomodation/service costs in St Petersburg


Councils pay private detectives to have illicit sex
Clay Lucas January 25, 2007
Source:
The Age

MELBOURNE councils are paying private detectives to have sex with prostitutes, to gather evidence against illegal brothels.

Melbourne City Council and Yarra Council yesterday confirmed they had paid private investigators to approach prostitutes, and in at least 17 cases, investigators had sex with them.

Other councils across the city confirmed they had also paid private investigators to visit illegal brothels, but stopped short of confirming sexual services had been provided.

Victoria Police questioned the method of obtaining evidence, saying it was a highly unusual way of proving a brothel was operating illegally. “It has never been Victoria Police’s practice to use that method of operation,” Inspector Craig Walsh said last night. “I have been around for 22-odd years and I have never heard of it.”

Police effectively stopped policing brothels when Victoria Police’s vice squad was closed in 1999. Since then, complaints about brothels to police have been referred to local governments. Police said yesterday that enforcing illegal brothels was a planning issue.

Yarra Council confirmed yesterday it had hired investigators from a specialist firm six times in the past two years to gather evidence to be used against illegal brothels. On four occasions, this had involved investigators receiving a sexual service, a council spokeswoman said, enabling council to successfully prosecute and close the premises down.

“Council has an obligation to respond to community concerns and pursue any (brothel) that does not comply with the local planning scheme,” Yarra mayor Jenny Farrar said.

“Without concrete evidence, Yarra is powerless to shut down these illegal operations.” Cr Farrar said the courts had deemed that to be successful in a prosecution, a sexual service had to be provided. “This leaves us with little choice but to get the evidence needed to close these places down,” she said.

The council would not reveal how much private investigators had paid to illegal brothels.

Melbourne City Council also confirmed that private investigators working for the council had paid for “sexual acts” performed by illegal prostitutes.

Chief executive David Pitchford said that these investigators had acted “voluntarily”.

“Council has no alternative but to provide direct evidence to achieve a successful prosecution,” Mr Pitchford said.

“Clients of illegal brothels cannot be forced to incriminate themselves.”

William Albon, spokesman for the Australian Adult Entertainment Association that represents legal brothels and escort agencies, has long claimed there are more than 400 illegal brothels operating in Victoria. He said local councils were doing “excellent work” pursuing illegal brothels. “But it is regrettable that councils have had this enforcement task dumped on them,” he said. Mr Albon said that, under the Prostitution Control Act, Consumer Affairs Victoria should be enforcing illegal prostitution.

“But they are hopelessly derelict in their duty,” Mr Albon said. “The public records shows that not once in 13 years (has) CAV … brought a prosecution of an illegal brothel before a court or tribunal.”

The Municipal Association of Victoria called for more collaboration across various tiers of government so that councils did not have to resort to such desperate measures to shut down illegal brothels.

President Dick Gross said it should be easier for councils to close illegal brothels. “It needs to be defined how private investigators can (get evidence) in an illegal environment,” he said.

He called for the Prostitution Control Act to be changed, along with the Planning and Environment Act, so that illegal brothels were easier to shut down.

“The real issues are residential amenity and immigration issues: women are far less protected in a deregulated environment,” he said.

The State Government last year committed to reviewing the 1994 Prostitution Control Act. There is “a proliferation of illegal brothels in Melbourne” according to Monash councillor Geoff Lake, a former Municipal Association of Victoria president.

Out of pocket expenses Melbourne City Council pays hookers claiming in the name of market research

Melbourne City Council paying prostitutes for services in the name of research.

the City of Melbourne has forked out an unknown amount of money for research into prostituting. What’s next a world tour of the worlds “hot spots” to facility the marketing of Melbourne’s adult entertainment services. Melbourne’s Premier Street “Swanston Street”, in spite the City Council’s promises to clean up the City Center, continues to be one of the City’s main locations for sex shows and adult entertainment.

Questions have been asked by senior law enforcement officials as to the merits and legality of the City Council’s actions. (What advise did Alison Lyons, disgraced former City of Melbourne’s Legal advisor now working for the MAV, provide Dick Gross)

Many question are remain unanswered as to the occupational and safety aspects of the contract and quality research undertaken. Was there any bias in the quality research and sampling?

When Melbourne’s Chief executive, David Pitchford, said that these investigators which had paid for sexual services had acted “voluntarily”. Did the City Council get satisfaction for the money spent and paid for by ratepayers. Was it a tender contract with discrimination based on the service providers marital or sexual preferences? What qualifications were required and what basis of justification was made for this disgraceful public conduct? What details of reporting has been made to the City Council and will the reports be made public and or subject to FOI? or is is a “R” rated report?

Does this mean that our City Councillors can now claim out of pocket expenses for money paid to sex workers?

Maybe this explains why the City Council paid $800 a night in accomodation/service costs in St Petersburg


Councils pay private detectives to have illicit sex
Clay Lucas January 25, 2007
Source:
The Age

MELBOURNE councils are paying private detectives to have sex with prostitutes, to gather evidence against illegal brothels.

Melbourne City Council and Yarra Council yesterday confirmed they had paid private investigators to approach prostitutes, and in at least 17 cases, investigators had sex with them.

Other councils across the city confirmed they had also paid private investigators to visit illegal brothels, but stopped short of confirming sexual services had been provided.

Victoria Police questioned the method of obtaining evidence, saying it was a highly unusual way of proving a brothel was operating illegally. “It has never been Victoria Police’s practice to use that method of operation,” Inspector Craig Walsh said last night. “I have been around for 22-odd years and I have never heard of it.”

Police effectively stopped policing brothels when Victoria Police’s vice squad was closed in 1999. Since then, complaints about brothels to police have been referred to local governments. Police said yesterday that enforcing illegal brothels was a planning issue.

Yarra Council confirmed yesterday it had hired investigators from a specialist firm six times in the past two years to gather evidence to be used against illegal brothels. On four occasions, this had involved investigators receiving a sexual service, a council spokeswoman said, enabling council to successfully prosecute and close the premises down.

“Council has an obligation to respond to community concerns and pursue any (brothel) that does not comply with the local planning scheme,” Yarra mayor Jenny Farrar said.

“Without concrete evidence, Yarra is powerless to shut down these illegal operations.” Cr Farrar said the courts had deemed that to be successful in a prosecution, a sexual service had to be provided. “This leaves us with little choice but to get the evidence needed to close these places down,” she said.

The council would not reveal how much private investigators had paid to illegal brothels.

Melbourne City Council also confirmed that private investigators working for the council had paid for “sexual acts” performed by illegal prostitutes.

Chief executive David Pitchford said that these investigators had acted “voluntarily”.

“Council has no alternative but to provide direct evidence to achieve a successful prosecution,” Mr Pitchford said.

“Clients of illegal brothels cannot be forced to incriminate themselves.”

William Albon, spokesman for the Australian Adult Entertainment Association that represents legal brothels and escort agencies, has long claimed there are more than 400 illegal brothels operating in Victoria. He said local councils were doing “excellent work” pursuing illegal brothels. “But it is regrettable that councils have had this enforcement task dumped on them,” he said. Mr Albon said that, under the Prostitution Control Act, Consumer Affairs Victoria should be enforcing illegal prostitution.

“But they are hopelessly derelict in their duty,” Mr Albon said. “The public records shows that not once in 13 years (has) CAV … brought a prosecution of an illegal brothel before a court or tribunal.”

The Municipal Association of Victoria called for more collaboration across various tiers of government so that councils did not have to resort to such desperate measures to shut down illegal brothels.

President Dick Gross said it should be easier for councils to close illegal brothels. “It needs to be defined how private investigators can (get evidence) in an illegal environment,” he said.

He called for the Prostitution Control Act to be changed, along with the Planning and Environment Act, so that illegal brothels were easier to shut down.

“The real issues are residential amenity and immigration issues: women are far less protected in a deregulated environment,” he said.

The State Government last year committed to reviewing the 1994 Prostitution Control Act. There is “a proliferation of illegal brothels in Melbourne” according to Monash councillor Geoff Lake, a former Municipal Association of Victoria president.

Out of pocket expenses Melbourne City Council pays hookers claiming in the name of market research

Melbourne City Council paying prostitutes for services in the name of research.

the City of Melbourne has forked out an unknown amount of money for research into prostituting. What’s next a world tour of the worlds “hot spots” to facility the marketing of Melbourne’s adult entertainment services. Melbourne’s Premier Street “Swanston Street”, in spite the City Council’s promises to clean up the City Center, continues to be one of the City’s main locations for sex shows and adult entertainment.

Questions have been asked by senior law enforcement officials as to the merits and legality of the City Council’s actions. (What advise did Alison Lyons, disgraced former City of Melbourne’s Legal advisor now working for the MAV, provide Dick Gross)

Many question are remain unanswered as to the occupational and safety aspects of the contract and quality research undertaken. Was there any bias in the quality research and sampling?

When Melbourne’s Chief executive, David Pitchford, said that these investigators which had paid for sexual services had acted “voluntarily”. Did the City Council get satisfaction for the money spent and paid for by ratepayers. Was it a tender contract with discrimination based on the service providers marital or sexual preferences? What qualifications were required and what basis of justification was made for this disgraceful public conduct? What details of reporting has been made to the City Council and will the reports be made public and or subject to FOI? or is is a “R” rated report?

Does this mean that our City Councillors can now claim out of pocket expenses for money paid to sex workers?

Maybe this explains why the City Council paid $800 a night in accomodation/service costs in St Petersburg


Councils pay private detectives to have illicit sex
Clay Lucas January 25, 2007
Source:
The Age

MELBOURNE councils are paying private detectives to have sex with prostitutes, to gather evidence against illegal brothels.

Melbourne City Council and Yarra Council yesterday confirmed they had paid private investigators to approach prostitutes, and in at least 17 cases, investigators had sex with them.

Other councils across the city confirmed they had also paid private investigators to visit illegal brothels, but stopped short of confirming sexual services had been provided.

Victoria Police questioned the method of obtaining evidence, saying it was a highly unusual way of proving a brothel was operating illegally. “It has never been Victoria Police’s practice to use that method of operation,” Inspector Craig Walsh said last night. “I have been around for 22-odd years and I have never heard of it.”

Police effectively stopped policing brothels when Victoria Police’s vice squad was closed in 1999. Since then, complaints about brothels to police have been referred to local governments. Police said yesterday that enforcing illegal brothels was a planning issue.

Yarra Council confirmed yesterday it had hired investigators from a specialist firm six times in the past two years to gather evidence to be used against illegal brothels. On four occasions, this had involved investigators receiving a sexual service, a council spokeswoman said, enabling council to successfully prosecute and close the premises down.

“Council has an obligation to respond to community concerns and pursue any (brothel) that does not comply with the local planning scheme,” Yarra mayor Jenny Farrar said.

“Without concrete evidence, Yarra is powerless to shut down these illegal operations.” Cr Farrar said the courts had deemed that to be successful in a prosecution, a sexual service had to be provided. “This leaves us with little choice but to get the evidence needed to close these places down,” she said.

The council would not reveal how much private investigators had paid to illegal brothels.

Melbourne City Council also confirmed that private investigators working for the council had paid for “sexual acts” performed by illegal prostitutes.

Chief executive David Pitchford said that these investigators had acted “voluntarily”.

“Council has no alternative but to provide direct evidence to achieve a successful prosecution,” Mr Pitchford said.

“Clients of illegal brothels cannot be forced to incriminate themselves.”

William Albon, spokesman for the Australian Adult Entertainment Association that represents legal brothels and escort agencies, has long claimed there are more than 400 illegal brothels operating in Victoria. He said local councils were doing “excellent work” pursuing illegal brothels. “But it is regrettable that councils have had this enforcement task dumped on them,” he said. Mr Albon said that, under the Prostitution Control Act, Consumer Affairs Victoria should be enforcing illegal prostitution.

“But they are hopelessly derelict in their duty,” Mr Albon said. “The public records shows that not once in 13 years (has) CAV … brought a prosecution of an illegal brothel before a court or tribunal.”

The Municipal Association of Victoria called for more collaboration across various tiers of government so that councils did not have to resort to such desperate measures to shut down illegal brothels.

President Dick Gross said it should be easier for councils to close illegal brothels. “It needs to be defined how private investigators can (get evidence) in an illegal environment,” he said.

He called for the Prostitution Control Act to be changed, along with the Planning and Environment Act, so that illegal brothels were easier to shut down.

“The real issues are residential amenity and immigration issues: women are far less protected in a deregulated environment,” he said.

The State Government last year committed to reviewing the 1994 Prostitution Control Act. There is “a proliferation of illegal brothels in Melbourne” according to Monash councillor Geoff Lake, a former Municipal Association of Victoria president.