The planning system
Responsibility for planning in all states is divided between two tiers of government; state and local. The role of the state government is to provide the overarching laws, regulations and policies in place. It is then the responsibility of the local councils to interpret and carry out approvals according to the state planning laws, regulations and policies.
If a local council rejects a planning application, the applicant is allowed to dispute the decision in the state-based civil administration court or tribunal. This court has the power to uphold or overturn a council decision. In some cases, the state government may step in and override both decisions but this mostly occurs for larger developments.
We encourage members to contact the Eros office to discuss development applications early in the process so that we may be able to provide assistance.
What is a restricted premises and where are they allowed?
The definition of what is a restricted premises varies from state to state. Where restricted premises are permitted and prohibited is determined by local government. For example, some councils allow adult retail to trade on high street or alongside other retail stores and small businesses, while other councils only allow adult retail to operate in light industrial zones.
Signage above or near your store may also be regulated by the planning system. The regulations vary between councils. Like any other business, adult retail stores are allowed to have signage to help customers identify their location. Advertising should follow the voluntary Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics Practice Note developed by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).
If a community member makes a complaint to the Advertising Standards Board, you will be provided the opportunity to respond. You can read more information about the process on the ASB website or call the Eros office if you would like assistance. In many instances, the ASB has made decisions on complaints in favour of our members.
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
During the development approval process, there are some instances that a council may try to push for an adult retailer to operate only from the first floor of a retail premises. That is, they don’t wish for the shop front to be on the ground floor. It has been successfully argued that this condition may be in breach of the federal Disability Discrimination Act, if:
- Lift access is otherwise not available to access the first floor in an existing building; and/or
- State-based building codes do not legally require lift access when a new construction is below a certain number of storeys; and/or
- It can be argued that either or both staff and customers have a range of access requirements that will not be met by the retail business being situated on the first floor.