Department of Health

Statement of principles and procedures for Sex on Premises Venues


Operators of sex on premises venues (SOPVs) can apply to the Department of Health for an exemption from the operation of the Sex Work Act 1994. SOPVs are venues where persons are required to pay an admission fee to enter for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities with other people who have entered the venue on the same terms and who did not receive payment for engaging in sexual activities.

An exemption will only be granted if an operator agrees in writing to operate the venue in accordance with the statement of principles and procedures as set out below. If an operator of a SOPV fails to comply with the principles and procedures or any condition placed on the venue by the Secretary considered appropriate for the purpose of protecting public health, the Department of Health may vary, suspend or revoke the operator’s exemption from the Sex Work Act 1994.

Principles and procedures

  1. All patrons and staff have the right to a healthy and safe environment.
  2. A copy of Your rights and responsibilities: A guide for venue users will be displayed prominently in all SOPVs.
  3. All staff working at SOPVs will receive training in sexual health, including HIV and hepatitis A, B and C.
  4. Operators of SOPVs will ensure that condoms and water-based lubricant are readily available in all locations within the venue where any sexual activity may be likely to occur and that these areas are regularly monitored. A record of this monitoring process will be maintained in a logbook, and will include the date, time and the name of the employee who conducted the check.
  5. All new SOPV staff will be provided with a copy of these principles and procedures and be provided with an opportunity to discuss them with venue operators to ensure a high degree of understanding and acceptance.
  6. Posters promoting safe sex will be displayed throughout SOPVs. These will be placed at eye height and will be legible at a distance of two metres.
  7. Operators of SOPVs will ensure that general levels of lighting within venues are adequate to illuminate safe sex messages and to enable patrons to readily locate condom and lubricant dispensers.
  8. An area will be maintained in SOPVs where patrons may collect detailed educational material about safe sex and the prevention, treatment and testing for STIs. This material will be displayed prominently and will include a list of testing, treatment and peer support services. These areas will be restocked regularly.
  9. Venues will provide a clean and hygienic environment at all times.
  10. Securely anchored sharps containers will be provided in all toilets for the safe disposal of needles and syringes. Cleaning staff will also carry portable sharps containers when cleaning venues.
  11. The business has a COVIDSafe Plan and is applying the principles of COVIDSafe workplaces.
  12. Each fortnight operators of SOPVs will check that their venue is operating in accordance with these principles and procedures. A record of this monitoring process will be maintained in a logbook and will include the date on which the check occurred, the name of the person who performed the check, any issues that arose and details of corrective measures undertaken.
  13. An inspection of the venue by department officers will be undertaken prior to an exemption being granted to confirm it meets the standards set out above.
  14. Complaints related to compliance with these principles and procedures should be made to the Sexual Health and Viral Hepatitis team at the Department of Health on 1300 651 160 or by email
  15. The procedure for investigating complaints will include a discussion between venues and the Department of Health to resolve issues.


Date published
18 Apr 2021
2 pages

Reviewed 18 October 2022

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