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Government Federal, Political

NDIS sex work ban is not enforceable without further reforms

Massage & Myotherapy Australia 2 mins read

Massage & Myotherapy Australia welcomes the ban on funding sex work through the NDIS however the measures need to be strengthened to be enforceable. 

Ann Davey, CEO of Massage & Myotherapy Australia said, ‘With sex work now recognised as legitimate work, Victorian and Queensland policy also encourages sex workers to describe their services as massage, and hence still list a sex work service, as massage under the current NDIS rules.

‘Additionally, privacy laws rightly prevent video or sound recording of massage sessions, therefore what happens cannot be monitored or the ban be enforceable.

‘To prevent massage being used as a camouflage for sex work in the NDIS, any claims made for massage therapy treatments should be provided by a massage therapist who is a member of an accredited professional massage therapists association such as Massage & Myotherapy Australia,’ Mrs Davey said.

To make the NDIS ban on sex work enforceable, NDIS funding for massage therapists should employ the same rules as the MyAged Home Care Package and the Private Health Insurance Rebate Schemes which require massage therapists to achieve Approved Provider status through the membership of an accredited professional massage association. This ensures a much higher degree of certainty that the massage service provided is legitimate massage therapy.

Members of Massage & Myotherapy Australia must meet the accreditation requirements which are virtually the same as AHRPA-registered practitioners which include:

  • set qualification and probity standards for membership
  • accredited training programs for membership purposes
  • undergo Recency of Practice continuing professional development/education requirements
  • hold current Senior/Level 2 First Aid Qualifications
  • hold current Malpractice, Public Liability Insurance (minimum $2,000,000)
  • Criminal History Check and Working with Children/Vulnerable Persons Check in some cases
  • English language skills
  • Code of ethics that members are sanctioned for unprofessional conduct, including withdrawal of membership in serious matters
  • Third party complaint resolution involving:
    • a code of ethics that members must subscribe to
    • complaints handling services involving health service users about members
    • sanctions for unprofessional conduct, including withdrawal of membership in serious matters
  • complete a statutory declaration, indicating that they have not been charged with or convicted of an offence of harm to a person nor been subject to disciplinary proceedings with a Private Health Fund

This has worked effectively since the introduction of the Private Health Insurance rebate for massage therapy.

‘It is the only way to ensure that professional qualified massage therapists are employed by the NDIS to administer massage therapy services that so many people with disabilities depend on to maintain function and pain relief’ Mrs Davey said.


About us:

Massage & Myotherapy Australia is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2003 and is the leading representative body for professional massage therapists nationwide, with a membership of over 8,500 therapists.

Contact details:

Nathan Woods ; 03 9602 7300

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