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A public place is anywhere that is open to, or used by, the public (either for free or for a fee)—for example, a street a shop, railway or bus station or in some parking areas.

There are laws about what you can and cannot do and how to behave in a public place so that members of the public can use and move through public places peacefully.


Illegal behaviour in a public place

You are breaking the law if you:

  • commit a public nuisance offence—this includes behaviour that is offensive, disorderly, threatening, violent or if what you are doing interferes with someone else moving through, or peacefully being in and enjoying a public place.
  • urinate in a public place (not including public toilets).
  • beg for money or goods in a public place (this does not apply to people registered to ask for donations to a charity or to authorised buskers).
  • expose your genitals in a public place or in a place where your genitals can be seen from a public place.
  • are intoxicated in a public place.

The police can give you an on-the-spot fine for public nuisance offences. There is no conviction recorded for an on-the-spot fine, but the police will keep a record of it having been issued that could later be used in Court.

Alternatively, police can arrest and charge you with a public nusiance offence and you must go to Court.

There can be more serious penalties for committing some of these types of offences in or near a licensed premise.


Being moved on

A police officer may tell you to leave a public place or a regulated place and not return within a reasonable time (no more than 24 hours) if they reasonably suspect that:

  • your presence or behaviour is causing anxiety to someone (and that anxiety is reasonable in the circumstances).
  • your presence or behaviour is interfering with trade or business, by getting in the way of people entering or leaving a place.
  • your presence or behaviour is disrupting an event, or gathering, at the place.
  • your behaviour is disorderly, indecent, offensive or threatening to someone else.

The police officer must tell you why you are being told to leave.

If a police officer asks you to leave—you should do so. If you do not comply you may be breaking the law by contravening a direction or requirement of police.


Prostitution and sex workers

There are laws covering prostitutes and other sex workers and their clients. Prostitution in licensed brothels is legal in Queensland, but street prostitution is illegal.

Without a licence, permit or authority it is against the law to:

  • offer someone sex for money or money for sex.
  • accept the offer.
  • participate directly or indirectly, in any service (such as making a phone call, arranging transport, allowing the use of premises) which enables prostitution to occur.


Disclaimer: The material presented on this website is an information source only. The information on this website is written for people resident in, or affected by the laws of Queensland, Australia only. Links to other sites from this website are provided for the users’ convenience. The LGBTI Legal Service does not endorse these sites and is not responsible for the information on these sites or the use made of this information. If you have a specific legal problem, you should consult a professional legal advisor.

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