Moranbah motel owner allowed to appeal sex worker case

ATTORNEY-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie has welcomed the Court of Appeal's decision to allow a Moranbah motel's appeal against a sex worker.

Mr Bleijie said a QCAT decision in July 2012 had ruled the motel's owners had breached the Anti-Discrimination Act by denying a legal sex worker a room.

The Drover's Rest Motel told an out-of-town sex worker in June 2010 she could not longer stay at its facility.

The sex worker, who had stayed at the motel in the resource rich region over a two-year period and used the rooms to service clients, claimed it was made clear she could not stay there because she was a sex worker.

But the hotel manager argued she told the woman she had nothing against prostitutes but did not want them working in her motel.

The Anti-Discrimination Commission referred the complaint to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The sex worker, referred to only as "GK", sought $30,000 in damages in 2011 for humiliation, economic loss and stress suffered from the motel rejection.

QCAT dismissed the application for damages but last year found the motel did contravene the Anti-Discrimination Act by banning the prostitute.

"Common sense prevailed today with the Court of Appeal setting aside that QCAT decision," Mr Bleijie said.

"This is a win for business and common sense.

"I joined this fight as a friend of the court because I support business owners' ability to decide about what does or does not occur on their premises.

"The Newman Government recently amended the Anti-Discrimination Act to allow hotel and motel operators to refuse sex workers accommodation or evict them if they have reason to believe they are operating a business from their premises.

"Regardless of today's outcome, businesses would have been protected from this ever happening again.

"If someone is running a business out of a hotel or motel room and the operator or manager receives complaints from other patrons, they should be able to do something.

"We have levelled the playing field so the laws suit the majority not the minority."


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