Bone Shaker Body Art tattoo shop co-owners Ben Medcalf and Lyndell Ryan with tattoo artists William Plewis and Trinity Williams. Photo by Chris McCormack
THE owners of a Cleveland tattoo parlour are fuming at new industry licences designed to crack down on outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Husband-and-wife owners of Bone Shaker Body Art, Ben Medcalf and Lyndell Ryan will need to pay at least $1150 by July 1 if they want their business to remain open.
Their employees, tattooists Trinity Williams and William Plewis will also need to pay $350 for a one-year licence or $690 for three years to continue working.
They will also need to be checked against a criminal database and fingerprinted.
The state government introduced the restrictions earlier this year in an attempt to remove members of bikie gangs from the industry.
Anybody in a gang, or with a close association to members of gangs, will not be granted a licence.
Body Shaker Body Art has a blanket ban on tattooing or employing members of bikie gangs, but Trinity said innocent workers were being punished.
"I've got a clean slate, but I've been told that I'm guilty until proven innocent by a licence that has nothing to do with our capabilities of tattooing or running a business," she said.
"We don't feel it's our problem and we don't feel like we should be involved. We shouldn't be labelled the same as the rest of them."
Ben said he was still paying off renovations made at the opening of the studio in September last year and claimed the upfront licence payment would not help his bottom line.
He warned that the new laws would send the outlaws underground.
"All these guys they're shutting down aren't going to stop working, they're just going to work from home illegally and tax-free," he said.
"We're here doing the right thing, but we're copping the brunt of it."
Lyndell suggested that a tattoists be required to hold a white card, which were far cheaper, as an alternative to the licences.
"Sons of Anarchy is a show, it's not real life in Cleveland," she said.
"If we opened a bakery instead of a tattoo studio, we wouldn't be going through this."
Cleveland MP Mark Robinson said he was happy to speak with Ben about his concerns.
He said non-affiliated tattoo parlours would see a boost in business once bikie studios were shut down.
"I anticipate that when there's a clean-up of the industry only the independent businesses will remain, and they'll see a pick-up in business over time."