THE Queensland Government plans to introduce legislation in parliament that will lower the age of consent for anal sex and equalise it with all other sexual acts in the state.
Under current laws the age of consent for anal sex – referred to as sodomy in Queensland’s Criminal Code – is 18 years, while the age of consent for all other sexual acts is 16 years.
Health Minister Cameron Dick told the Brisbane Times that it was the only course of action the government could take.
“By making this change, we’re addressing the disparity between the age of consent for penetrative sex, which has resulted in adverse consequences for young people in this state,” he said.
“It is clear that inconsistent age of consent laws act as a barrier to young people accessing safe sexual health information.
“It’s time that Queensland modernised its framework.”
The decision was made following advice from an expert panel, and years of lobbying from LGBTI advocates, health workers, and educators.
Currently, the age of consent for “sexual interactions” is 17 years in South Australia and Tasmania, and 16 years in every other state.
Queensland is the only jurisdiction where the age of consent varies depending on the act, which has resulted in young gay men finding it difficult to access safe sex information.
The government will also release an Australian-first draft Sexual Health Strategy, which will work towards providing better information around sexual health and contraceptive options.