Tats law fine by me

JUSTIN Brown has always wanted to get a tattoo.

And it's lucky he's 17-years-old this year, since new laws that came into effect this week mean it is illegal for people under 16 to have branding, scarification and intimate piercing performed on their body.

Justin reckons it's a good thing, too.

“It's something you have permanently and you've got to be mature and know what you're going to get,” Justin said.

Coffs Harbour tattooist Arm, owner of Coat of Arms Tattoos and Body Piercing, said the new laws were good for the community and the business sector.

“I've done tattoos on under 16s for special reasons, like covering scars from operations or to commemorate the loss of a loved one,” Arm said.

“But I usually find if they're under 16, they're just not mature enough.”

The State Government claims the new legislation aims to protect children from inappropriate damage to their bodies.

“I hope this gives parents peace of mind that they will have a say in what their children are doing to their young bodies - and children some pause for thought before they make this big and permanent decision,” Minister for Community Services Linda Burney said.

The new laws also mean teenagers under 16 wanting piercing will need their guardian's consent, and operators who do not follow the new rules will face fines of up to $22,000 if they perform an intimate piercing on a child.

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