Tattoo industry

The tattoo industry in South Australia is regulated by Consumer and Business Services (CBS). You don't need a licence to provide tattooing services, but rules apply to anyone who:

  • tattoos another person (even if there's no fee)
  • carries on a business providing tattoo services
  • is an employee at a tattoo business
  • is a director of a body corporate that provides tattoo services
  • sells or supplies tattooing equipment.

If you provide tattooing which resembles make-up or is performed in the course of medical treatment, you don't need to notify CBS

There's no fee.

Things you must tell CBS

As a businesses you must keep records and tell CBS:

  • that you're running a business that provides tattoo services
  • the name and address of company directors
  • details of all employees
  • details of your lease agreement or title of deed
  • details of the place you predominantly provide tattooing services - eg tattoo parlour, tattoo show location.

Every employee who is a tattooist or who sells tattooing equipment must also notify CBS individually.

If you have a sub-contracting arrangement with another tattoo business, or are visiting from interstate or overseas to provide tattoo services, you still need to notify CBS.

Changes in circumstances

As a tattoo service provider you're required to notify CBS within 14 days if your circumstances change - eg:

  • personal details
  • directorship changes
  • attending events
  • business address details
  • trading name
  • any change in circumstance that may result in disqualification.

Tattoo shows

You must notify CBS if you plan to participate in a tattoo show, convention or fair in South Australia.

Offences and penalties

Providing false or misleading information

Failure to provide the required information or providing false or misleading information is an offence. Individuals can be fined $100,000 or face one year imprisonment and body corporates can be fined $250,000.

Operating when disqualified

Certain people can be disqualified from providing tattoo services, including members of organised crime gangs and their associates.

It's an offence to provide tattooing services if you are disqualified. The maximum penalty is $250,000 for a company or four years imprisonment for an individual.

Disqualification guidelines for the tattoo industry (PDF 172KB).

CBS does not provide a public list of disqualified persons. If you need to check a person's status - eg an employee - ask them for their confirmation email from CBS.

If they can't give you their confirmation email, you can request the information from CBS.

Tattoo information request form (PDF 196KB)

Prohibited items

In premises where tattoo services are provided, it's an offence to have:

  • drugs
  • firearms
  • explosives
  • weapons
  • any other dangerous items.

SA Police can search a premises if they believe they'll find any of these prohibited items.

Prescribed information

A person must not perform tattooing or body piercing on another person unless that person has been supplied with prescribed information relating to the risks associated with the procedure and proper care afterwards:

A person performing tattooing or body piercing must display a Notice of warning - tattooing, body modification and body piercing (PDF 122KB) at the premises where the procedures are offered.

Related information

Other websites

Contact CBS

Online: Contact CBS

Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 15 February 2023

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
Last Updated:
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