Tatoo Industry

Legislative Council
Tuesday 18th of October 2016

Question Time

Tatoo Industry

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:29 :48 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the minister representing the Minister for Police on the topic of SAPOL's administration of the Tattooing Industry Control Act 2015.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The tattoo industry once existed on the margins of our society and, increasingly, is mainstream. Between 2009 and 2014, the average growth rate of this industry was 4.7 per cent each year, and currently over 2,000 staff are working in 987 registered tattoo studios across the nation. These artists are highly skilled. They complete apprenticeships, and yet, under South Australian laws, they have been linked with so-called undesirable associations and labelled a threat.

The Tattooing Industry Control Act and its regulations came into effect in this state this year on 1 July, the stated aim being to prevent criminal infiltration of the industry. Yet, in the application of this act we are seeing the entire industry criminalised. It requires a new system of notification where applications to continue operating are subject to approval through Consumer and Business Services. The deadline for these applications across the state was 28 July. The CBS website stated that they would be processed within 4 to 6 weeks. Due to the nature of the new legislation and controls, that application process must be vetted by SAPOL.

I have been informed that many applications under the new law were made well before that July deadline, as they are keys to those tattoo artists or workers in this industry keeping their jobs. They also face penalties of up to four years in prison, or, indeed, quarter of a million dollar fines for a body corporate, should they be disqualified. It is now over 11 weeks since the deadline for those applications, and over five weeks since it was stated that they would receive notification of their success or otherwise. My office is receiving increasingly frustrated contact from those in this industry, wondering what has happened to their applications.

They have been informed that they are stuck in SAPOL. Those who have contacted Consumer and Businesses Services are now being referred to SAPOL. One complainant, who attempted to make a complaint about this to the Ombudsman's office, was referred to the police ombudsman for their complaint. However, the police ombudsman is unable to take systemic complaints, as they act only on complaints about individuals. My questions to the police minister are:

1. What extra resourcing has been given to SAPOL for the implementation and administration of the Tattoo Industry Control Act 2015?

2. When will operators and artists see this matter resolved, and their jobs assured?

3. Is no news good news, and can the minister give operators and artists an assurance that they are not currently operating outside of the law and, indeed, being criminals while waiting on SAPOL to assess whether they are criminals?

4. What procedures exist for South Australians to make complaints about SAPOL when the nature of that complaint is a systemic departmental one, as in this case, rather than an individual one?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (14:33 :16 ): I thank the honourable member for her question and, on behalf of the Minister for Police, I will make sure that the question is taken on notice and an answer is brought back for the honourable member.

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