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Tattoo services

From 1 July 2016 people who provide tattoo services will be regulated and must comply with new rules. Consumer and Business Services (CBS) will keep a record of those providing tattooing services in South Australia and conduct compliance and monitoring activities. South Australia Police (SAPOL) will assist by providing information and intelligence and will have additional powers to carry out random weapon and explosive searches and drug detection.

The reforms are part of the State Government’s commitment to tackling organised crime in South Australia.

You do not require a licence to provide tattoo services, however there are now requirements placed on those operators to provide information.

The legislation will impact anyone who:

  • tattoos another person
  • carries on a business providing tattoo services
  • is an employee at a tattoo business
  • sells or supplies tattooing equipment.

If a person or body corporate is one of the following they are automatically and permanently disqualified and must not provide tattooing services:

  • a member of a prescribed organisation
  • a close associate of a person who is a member of a prescribed organisation or is subject to a control order under the Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act 2008
  • is disqualified from providing tattooing services under a law of the Commonwealth or another state or territory.

SAPOL, as authorised officers, will have the power to:

  • enter and remain in or on any premises, place or vehicle that the officer reasonably suspects is used for or in connection with the provision of tattooing services (may use force if required)
  • inspect or search the premises, place or vehicle
  • inspect records kept by a person or require a person to produce the records
  • examine or copy such records
  • remove and retain such records
  • seize and remove anything that constitutes evidence of an offence.

SAPOL also has additional powers to carry out random weapon and explosive searches and drug detection.

SAPOL will assist CBS by providing information and intelligence regarding criminal history and associates of those providing tattooing services in South Australia.

Cosmetic tattooing which resembles make-up or tattooing that is performed in the course of medical treatment is exempt from the legislation.

Businesses that provide tattoo services will be required to keep particular records and provide certain information to the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, such as the name and address of company directors and all employees. It will be an offence to fail to provide the required information or to provide false or misleading information.

Tattoo operators must notify CBS by 28 July 2016 that they are carrying on a business which provides tattoo services; and ensure that all employees, who are tattooists or who sell tattooing equipment, also notify CBS by 28 July 2016.

Further information is available on the Consumer and Business Services website