By Rachel Payne
A win for the industry is a win for your business
One of the fundamental reasons adults-only businesses support Eros Association is to continue to fight against discrimination and ensure that the voice of the industry is heard. Over the last twelve months much of the focus has been on discrimination by financial service providers, namely banks, refusing services to the adult industry.
Whether it be a flat out refusal to offer services to businesses deemed to be part of the adult industry, higher fees or limited services, or a review of services resulting in them being removed; adults-only businesses have had enough of having to justify why they should be allowed access to a particularly essential service.
With the ongoing Royal Commission into banks it is hard to understand how they can hold a moral high ground on what industries they deem to be acceptable to provide services to. It has been all the more rewarding to have little wins along the way with this campaign. From the Small Business and Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell coming out in support of adults-only businesses having access to financial services, to positive national press, to the ANZ and Westpac providing a statement offering service provisions. It has been the little wins that have encouraged ongoing change.
And now I am extremely pleased to announce that Afterpay have agreed to allow approved Eros members access to their services.
This is a very positive step in the right direction, particularly for the adult retail industry, in not only acknowledging that adult retailers deserve the same competitive advantage as any other retail store by offering these types of services, it also allows customers more choice when purchasing.
If you would like to know more about offering Afterpay to your customers, get in contact with the Eros office to start the application process. A strict criteria will apply, but we hope that this is a positive step towards broad access to Afterpay by all Eros members in the future.
Classification reform in sight
We have seen this happen time and time again – reform of the National Classification Scheme has been on the radar of government on and off for decades. The 2012 Law Reform Commission Recommendations fell on deaf ears, as well as the recommendations that came out of the 2016 Personal Choice and Community Impact Inquiry.
With the Classification portfolio moving away from the Federal Attorney General’s department into that of Communications, now more than ever has there been reasonable conversations and consultation between the Classification Branch and the adult industry.
In late May, it was confirmed that the Communications Minister was finally ready to start talking about reform, with ‘the government looking at how the National Classification Scheme could be “modernised”, and had reached out to states, territories and industry stakeholders to figure out the next step forward’.
The Classification Branch has been set to task to produce a discussion paper on how the National Classification Scheme could (and should) be modernised, and sort consultation from Eros on the draft discussion paper outlining key areas for reform. This is a long overdue step in the right direction when it comes to reforming the National Classification Scheme, with the Classification Branch outlining the need for regulatory reform of this outdated scheme, including the future role of state governments, as well as looking at the Classification Code and if the X classification needs to be reviewed in order to capture some sexual acts that may currently be refused classification.
The discussion paper is set to be released in late-July and submissions will be called upon from industry stakeholders and the wider community. Eros will be working closely with members to ensure that the industry is well represented in moving forward with this review.
Eros made a submission to the Inquiry into the effect of red tape on Occupational Licensing after consultation with members regarding their experiences of unnecessary red-tape when dealing professionally with government departments and licensing. Making particular reference to ‘any specific areas of red tape that are particularly burdensome, complex, redundant or duplicated across jurisdictions’, Eros’ submission focused on (1) the classification scheme and the duplicated legislative limitations, as well as the redundant licensing structure; and (2) brothel licensing laws in QLD and VIC, and how there may be incentives to reduce red tape.
Eros has also made a submission in support of The Criminal Code and Other Legislation Amendment (Removing Commonwealth Restrictions on Cannabis) Bill 2018, calling for the legalisation of recreational cannabis in Australia.
In this submission, Eros emphasised that the adults-only retail sector is well placed to provide guidance on cannabis retail in Australia. Providers of adult goods and services are ‘age-restriction specialists’ with a breadth of knowledge regarding regulated products. We will continue to provide advice to lawmakers to ensure cannabis legalisation occurs in a manner which is mindful of community concerns and prioritises consumer health and safety.
The proposed bill would remove Commonwealth barriers to the legalisation, regulation and taxation of cannabis, allowing any State or Territory Government to legalise and regulate cannabis and is tabled for report by August 2018.
What legislative changes would be of priority to members?
Discrimination continues to be a major issue that members report is of most importance in continued efforts to create legislative change. We have seen some success come from the financial discrimination campaign in creating positive change for members.
Similarly, we are about to launch our employment discrimination campaign – “Sexy Jobs are Real Jobs” – highlighting the industry-wide issue of adults-only businesses being denied access to subsidies for new employees. Recently we put a call out to members who would like to get involved in this campaign, and we would love to get some photos of adult retail and wholesale employees at work for a social media campaign proving that #SexyJobsAreRealJobs
If your adults-only business has been denied incentives from government wage subsidy and employment schemes we would love to hear your story.
I look forward to announcing many more ‘wins’ for the industry!