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Brothel licence application

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Application for a brothel licence in Queensland

All brothels in Queensland must be licensed

  • Under the Prostitution Act 1999 (the Act), you must have a licence to operate a brothel in Queensland.
  • Each person involved in operating the brothel must have their own licence. A brothel licence is issued to the person, just like a driver licence. It can’t be used by another person or transferred to another person.
  • Unlicensed brothel operators can be fined or go to jail.

The Authority issues licences to eligible applicants found to be a suitable person. If you are granted a licence, you must:

  • have already paid the fee
  • comply with the Prostitution Act, Prostitution Regulation and conditions of the licence
  • apply to renew the licence every three years if you want to continue to operate the brothel.

If you are not issued a licence by the Authority, you can ask for a review of the decision in the Supreme Court. We recommend you contact a legal representative about your options.

How to apply for a brothel licence in Queensland

Not everyone can apply for or be granted a brothel licence in Queensland. Check your eligibility to apply for a brothel licence.

Step 1 – application form and fee

  • Download and complete the application form
  • Prepare an operating and financial plan
  • Send the form and required documentation to us and pay the fees

Step 2 - keep your application up-to-date

Under the law you must:

  • let us know if any of the information you’ve provided changes
  • give us the new information in writing within 10 days of the change.

Step 3 – we will assess your application

The Authority and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) assess applications for a brothel licence against the rules set out in the Act.


We investigate your:

  • character, reputation, honesty and integrity
  • criminal history, including your family members and any associates
  • financial background
  • plan for operating the brothel in line with the law

To make these checks, we may get advice and information from any person or organisation about your application.


You must agree to confirm and record your identity by allowing us or the QPS to take your fingerprints as identifying particulars.

You must provide a colour passport-size photo of yourself.

We will not consider your application if you do not give us the identifying particulars that we or the QPS ask for.


Before we grant a licence we consider how many licensed brothels and adult entertainment premises already exist in the area you have chosen.

Step 4 – we give you our decision

After we have finished reviewing your application, we may either:

  • grant you a licence; or
  • refuse to grant the licence.

If we grant you a licence, it will authorise you to operate a brothel at one premises only.

If we reject your application, we will refund part of your fee.

Postpone or withdraw an application

You may ask us to delay issuing a licence if you are waiting for an event such as:

  • completion of the building of the brothel premises
  • being ready to operate the brothel.

You may withdraw an application at any time before it is decided. If you withdraw your application, we will refund part of your fee.

What you must do if you have a licence

If we approve your application and issue you with a brothel licence, you must comply with the Prostitution Act, Prostitution Regulation and the conditions of the licence at all times.

Section 21 of the Act outlines brothel licence conditions.

If you breach the conditions of your licence, it may be cancelled.

How to renew your Queensland brothel licence

Brothel licences issued by the Authority are valid for 3 years unless surrendered, suspended or cancelled.

If you want to renew your licence, you must submit an application to renew to the Authority at least 3 months prior to your current licence expiring and pay the fee.

If you do not renew your licence before it expires, you cannot continue to operate a brothel.

Apply to renew a brothel licence in Queensland

Step 1 – application form and fee

Step 2 – we assess your renewal application

We will assess your renewal application based on your record of compliance with:

Step 3 – we give you our decision

After we have reviewed your application, we may either:

  • renew your licence; or
  • refuse to renew the licence.

If we refuse your application, we will refund part of your fee.

Queensland brothel licence compliance

The Authority monitors the operation of all licensed brothels to make sure licensees:

We check your compliance by:

Audits and inspections

Our compliance officers attend each licensed brothel at least twice a year for:

  • pre-opening inspections for newly licensed brothels
  • audits of licensed brothels
  • inspections of brothel operations, which may be unannounced.

Compliance officers look at several criteria, including:

  • financial and business operations
  • employment of staff and engagement of sex workers
  • Work Health and Safety
  • sexual health management.

You can talk to compliance officers about any issues or concerns about your responsibilities under the law and the conditions of your licence.

Guidelines to help you comply

When you are granted a brothel licence, you receive an Operational Standards Manual.

The manual sets out best practice guidelines to creating a safe and healthy environment for sex workers, employees, clients and visitors.

It also has information to help you meet your licence conditions.

Annual returns

Under the law, all brothel licensees must provide the Authority with updated information about their personal, legal and financial details every year.

This is called an annual return and includes a fee.

How to complete an annual return