Australia's sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll boom! How a strong economy Down Under has led to illicit sidelines
Average yearly wage in Australia has hit 47,000Heroin and ecstasy sell for eight times more than in Britain and the U.S.
Police intercepted drugs hidden in a 20 ton steamroller and a wooden altarTicket to see Bruce Springsteen cost 140 in Australia but 58 in U.S.
15:33 GMT, 30 December 2012
Melbourne's Daily Planet brothel says it's the largest and most exclusive in the Southern Hemisphere
Australia, once an 18th century penal colony, is still attracting criminals although it would seem they are now going there out of choice.
The nation’s strong economy, high currency and wages have now made it a magnet for international drug smugglers and foreign sex workers.
Even rock and roll stars are getting in on the act and reaping rewards of performing in a country that is prepared to pay top dollar to have them.
Australian police made 69,500 illicit drug busts in the year to June 30,
2012, the highest in a decade, and have made record arrests in the
first six months of this financial year.
'Offshore organised crime syndicates perceive Australia to have a robust economy and to have been less affected by the global financial crisis than other jurisdictions,' said Paul Jevtovic, the Australian Crime Commission’s executive director of intervention and prevention.
Crime statistics show why some are willing to risk up to 20 years in prison.
The Australian Crime Commission, which examines trends and works
closely with police agencies, said heroin and MDMA, also known as
ecstasy, sell for about eight times more in Australia than in Britain
and the United States, though Australia is a much smaller market.
Crime Commission data given to Reuters shows a kilogram of cocaine is
worth about 1,540 in Colombia, 8,025 in Mexico, and 21,186 in the
The same kilogram of cocaine is worth 141,000 in Australia.
In recent months, police have intercepted drugs hidden in a 20-tonne steamroller and heavy machinery, in a large wooden altar, and they have broken up a drug ring involving smugglers in Australia, Japan and Vietnam.
One of the biggest smuggling operations was a failed bid to bring in more than 200 kg (440 lb) of cocaine across the Pacific Ocean from Ecuador on a 13-metre (40-foot) yacht, found grounded on a small atoll in Tonga with a dead crewman aboard.
Australian police, who work closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and authorities throughout Asia and the South Pacific, said the high prices paid in Australia and the strong dollar all helped make the country attractive for smugglers.
The steamroller sent from China was used to hide 350kg of cocaine and methamphetamine by two men in Sydney this year. A Canadian man and a U.S. man were arrested.
Small portion of a 180 million drug haul seized in Sydney this year from the above steamroller
Foreign sex workers are also cashing in on the boom, particularly in remote
mining towns, where the world’s oldest profession is the latest to adopt
fly-in, fly-out work practices. And more overseas sex workers are
heading for Australia.
A 2012 report for the government in the most populous state, New
South Wales, found a marked rise in the number of female sex workers
from Thailand, Korea and China since 2006, with 53 percent of sex
workers from Asia and a further 13.5 percent from other
The report, by the University of New South Wales, found a median
hourly rate of 100 for sex services in Australia’s largest city of
Sydney, although sex workers can charge double that in remote mining
towns full of men with disposable incomes.
In the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in the Western Australia state,
the Red House brothel, which has operated since 1934, advertises
services starting at 190 an hour.
Proprietor Bruna Meyers said women in her establishment earned up to 2,570 a week at a busy time, or about three times the average
full-time Australian wage.
US pop singer Justin Bieber (left) arrived for his Live & Intimate concert in Sydney, in July this year, while
US singer Ke$ha, who's real name is Kesha Rose Sebert (right), performed live in Australia last year
'The girls who come here are mainly from over east (eastern
Australian states). They come in, sometimes for two or three weeks at a
time. Some are just girls who are travelling around the world,' Meyers
strong dollar has also made Australia the ideal place to perform for
musicians wanting to make money at a time when touring rather than album
sales is the main driver of income, with many acts charging a premium
in a thriving economy.
the first half of 2013, Australia will see tours by Bruce Springsteen,
Pink, Guns N’Roses, Ringo Starr, ZZ Top, Thin Lizzy, the Steve Miller
Band, Deep Purple, Santana, Status Quo, Robert Plant, Neil Young, Carole
King, Paul Simon and Kiss.
high ticket prices have upset some fans, who question why an artist
like Springsteen charges 140 for a premium ticket in Australia, when
the same ticket to the same show in Connecticut in October cost 58.
can’t tell me it costs more than double per head to stage a concert
here in Australia,' said music fan Robin Pash, who has just returned
from the United States, where he saw Springsteen and a series of acts
for what would be considered bargain prices.
Tickets to see musician Bruce Springsteen perform in Australia next year will be more than double the 60 fans paid to watch him in Connecticut this October as part of the same tour