New tattoo licencing threatens Rebels bikie parlour owner
A PROUD life member of the Rebels Motorcycle Club says tough new licensing rules for tattoo parlours and tattooists will put him out of business.
Angelo Garozzo, owner of Caloundra Tattoo Studio, says new licensing laws, which require his finger and palm prints, could spell the end of his store and dozens of others around the state.
It's the latest step in the Newman Government's crackdown on organised criminal elements of motorcycle clubs.
Mr Garozzo's contempt for the VLAD laws and crackdowns on bikies are well-known. Last month he began offering customers free "I piss on the VLAD laws" tattoos.
Licensing for tattoo parlour owners and body art tattooists opened this week.
From July 1, it will be an offence to operate a tattoo parlour or carry out a body art tattooing procedure without a licence.
The maximum penalty for non-compliance is a $55,000 fine for the first offence up to a $110,000 fine, or 18 months in jail for a third offence.
Applicants will be screened by the Queensland Police Service to ensure they are suitable to work in the tattoo industry and have no links to motorcycle clubs.
They will need to disclose close associates such as staff, business partners and land lords.
Mr Garozzo said the move could force his business to close.
"This is how I earn a living. I've been doing it for 30 years," he said.
"I also employ two tattooists that work in my studio like sub-contractors. Their future is also jeopardised by this law.
"It's definitely invasive. They haven't given anyone a reason why they've brought this in.
"I'm not going to give them any of my money until it's sorted. I'm going to wait until the last second."
Mr Garozzo estimated about 20 studios in Queensland that employed a total of 60 people would be forced to close because they are owned by members from various bikie clubs.
"I'm a life member of the Rebels and I won't hide from it," he said.
"I've done nothing wrong. I don't have a criminal record.
"They say we launder money, which is a ludicrous statement to make."
Coolum Tattoo manager Neil Braithwaite said he would have to move interstate or overseas if his licence was rejected.
"Registration to tattoo is not a bad thing but having fingerprints and profiles put on record is a bit over the top," he said.
"You have plumbers who have registration and to that degree it's fair enough.
"But plumbers don't have to be fingerprinted and made to look like a criminal until proven otherwise."
- A person will need a tattoo operator licence if they run a body art tattooing business - $1150 for one year or $1990 for three.
- A person will need a body art tattooist licence if they perform body art tattooing procedures - $350 for one year or $690 for three.
- Body art tattooists visiting Queensland and organisers of trade shows or exhibitions will need temporary permits.