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The Tattoo Parlours Bill 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Banning bikies from running tattoo parlours is an important step towards eliminating criminal activity.  Recently I spoke in support of the Tattoo Parlours Bill 2012 which ensures that legitimate business operators only, continue to work in these businesses. 

Once upon a time tattooing was frowned upon by the wider society and very few people people would acquire tattoos other than sailors or military personnel or those who used tattooing for tribal and heritage reasons. There are a far greater number of tattoo parlours in existence today making it far more accessible for a wider group of people to obtain their tattoo of choice, particularly our sporting stars. I have no prejudice against tattoo's or a personal choice to acquire one. Unfortunately however, over time, one of the changes in the industry has been that the criminal element has become involved.

After 22 years experience in the NSW Police Force, I know that tattoo parlours are commonly places heavily associated with organised crime and in particular outlaw motorcycle gangs. They are frequently, and too often, the target of violent attacks, including drive-by shootings, fire-bombings and arson. Business owners attempting to operate a tattoo parlour without affiliation with organised crime have been subjected to extortion attempts and violence. This needs to stop and regulation of the industry is the way forward. The community is sick and tired of violent attacks, fire bombings and arson. It is sick and tired of outlaw motorcycle gangs showing contempt for the law, police and bystanders.

The Tattoo Parlours Bill 2012 creates two classes of licence: an operator licence, authorising the licensee to carry on a body art tattooing business at a specific premises; and a tattooist licence, authorising the licensee to perform body art tattooing procedures. It creates new offences carrying penalties of 100 penalty units for operating a tattoo business without an operator licence and 50 penalty units for being an employed tattooist without a tattooist licence. Sole traders will require an operator's licence and under the new licensing scheme, with the Department of Fair Trading and the Commissioner of Police, local government will have more confidence approving development applications for tattoo parlours. 

It's our duty to support the police and this bill is another rung in the ladder to make criminal activities more difficult and this legislation empowers law enforcement agencies and the Government with the ability to protect our communities. The legislation allows legitimate and committed small business people to move on with their job. It is a step in the right direction enabling the Police Force to crack down on outlaw motorcycle gangs and to inhibit their involvement in the tattoo industry. 

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