MINCHINBURY STREET PROSTITUTION
The Hon. J. F. RYAN [6.51]: I draw to the attention of the House, and also to the attention of the Attorney General - who is present in the Chamber representing the Minister for Police - five pieces of correspondence, copies of which have been sent to me by councillor Allan Green from Blacktown City Council. Councillor Green, a Liberal Party representative on that council, has brought to my attention the problem of street prostitution that a number of constituents in the Minchinbury area have raised. The letter that comes from the constituents largely speaks for itself. It states:
I'm writing to you in the hope that you will be able to assist in resolving an important issue which has again been discussed at the Minchinbury Residents Action Group Meetings.
Our group was formed as the residents of Minchinbury are appalled with our area being ignored in relation to the problem of prostitution and several other issues.
I'm sure you are already aware that this ongoing problem has been rapidly increasing in the Minchinbury area.
The difference being, Minchinbury now has residents that are no longer prepared to accept this problem being ignored by the appropriate authorities.
Residents have reported this problem to Members of Parliament, local newspapers and the Mount Druitt Police in the past and recently, on numerous occasions. This problem has become worse over the last 8 months and must be stopped.
We want the prostitutes removed from our area!
These prostitutes stand on the Great Western Highway, at the main entrance to the Minchinbury Estate and also outside the area at the entrance to Pinegrove Cemetery on a daily basis! They walk along this particular strip of the Great Western Highway. Our school children are exposed to this "sight" and some high school students have been harassed by these "women". It has now also reached the point where these "women" are soliciting inside the Minchinbury Estate at the local shopping centre!
Berreux Reserve has discarded condoms and syringes which are used by the local prostitutes in the reserve at night.
This situation is just not acceptable in our community, especially in a residential area near the primary school, pre-schools and our churches, not to mention near a cemetery where people are coming to mourn!
The honourable member for Lakemba made a speech in the lower House this afternoon in which he said that the Government was making some advances in respect of controlling the problem of prostitution on Canterbury Road. I hope that the Government will direct its attention to the Minchinbury area as well and make similar advances. Having said that, I place on the record my particular view about street prostitution, perhaps in view of comments I made when I supported the Government's attempts to regularise some prostitution by way of legislation to allow brothels to be legalised. Now that our community is beginning to accept the idea that prostitution is with us and perhaps needs to be legalised - at least to the extent of allowing the decriminalising of brothels - I believe it is time to work on street prostitution with a view to eliminating it.
Vendors are not permitted to sell flowers, cars or other objects on the side of the street, and people should not be allowed to sell their bodies, given the obvious health risks and the offence that that activity causes in the community. It is time to examine street prostitution, not only in respect of the rights of sex workers but also with a view to getting real about the issue and coming up with solutions which the community at large will accept. In any event, I ask the Government to look at the problem in Minchinbury. The problems which these constituents have raised are legitimate and deserve attention from the local Police Service. I ask the Attorney General to report back to this House at an appropriate time about the action that the local patrol commander might have taken in consultation with the Minister for Police.
We do not want their presence and we also do not want our area to end up like Canterbury Road.