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
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.