Personal appearance services like hairdressers, nail salons, beauty therapists and tattooists are regulated by the Public Health (Infection Control For Personal Appearance Services) Act 2003 (the Act)1.

The Public Health (Infection Control for Personal Appearance Services) Regulation 20162 prescribes the infection control qualification required by the Act.

Read guidelines3 that have been prepared to help businesses and local government officers understand their respective responsibilities.

Higher risk personal appearance service businesses

A higher risk personal appearance service involves any of the following skin penetration procedures, in which the release of blood or other body fluid is an expected result:

  • body piercing, other than closed ear or nose piercing
  • implanting natural or synthetic substances into a person’s skin (e.g. hair or beads)
  • scarring or cutting a person’s skin using a sharp instrument to make a permanent mark, pattern or design
  • tattooing (including cosmetic tattooing or semipermanent make-up)
  • tattoo removal (from 1 July 2016).

Businesses that offer higher risk services, need to have a ‘higher risk personal appearance service’ licence, and operators need to have the following designated qualification to provide these services:

Non-higher risk personal appearance service businesses

Examples of non–higher risk personal appearance services include:

  • hairdressing
  • beauty therapy
  • closed ear or nose piercing.

Non-higher risk services still need to comply with the Act and the Regulation, they just do not need the additional licence.

Both Higher risk and Non-higher risk personal appearance services must comply with the Infection Control Guidelines.

Licensing Process

Premises which offer higher risk personal appearance services to their clients need to be licensed under the Public Health (Infection Control for Personal Appearance Services) Act 2003.

This includes a premises which carries out the following services:

  • body piercing, excluding closed ear piercing;
  • implanting natural or synthetic substances into a person’s skin, including, for example, hair or beads;
  • scarring or cutting a person’s skin using a sharp instrument to make a permanent mark, pattern or design; or
  • tattooing

If you want to operate a premise that provides any of the sevices listed above you are required to make an application for a licence. Once your licence is issued, you are approved to operate. The licence must be renewed each year.

New Premises and Alterations

Before opening a new premises or altering an existing one, you need approval from the Environment and Health section.

Getting an Approval

To get an approval, you will need to:

  • Contact Council’s Planning Department to confirm whether you require approval under the Sustainable Planning Act .
  • Apply to the Environment and Health section.
  • Submit the appropriate application fee.


It is essential to make application before commencing both construction or operations. This allows an Environmental Health Officer to assess your proposal and advise you if there is any item that does not comply with the legislation. This will save you time and money.

An Environmental Health Officer will be able to assist your application.

What type of plans do I need to submit?

  • Floor plans,
  • Sectional elevation

Submit two copies of plans drawn to a scale of no less than 1:100 for floor layouts and 1:50 for sections.

What information do I need on my plans?

The following information must be included in your plans:

  • Location of fixtures and fittings;
  • Construction materials of all surfaces;
  • Hand wash basin location;
  • Preparation sink location;
  • Storage cupboards;
  • Waste containers (for soiled linen and other waste);
  • Details of refuse facilities; and
  • Cleaning and sanitation details for equipment and utensils.

Plan Approval

An Environmental Health Officer will assess your plans and give a written decision within ten working days. Construction can commence when the plans are approved.

Final Inspection

Before you open, the Environmental Health Officer will need to do a final inspection. Once the inspection is completed, and all structural requirements are met, you will be given approval to operate.

Getting a Licence

When your final inspection is complete, lodge your Higher Risk Personal Appearance Services Application form, together with the relevant fees, with the Environment and Health section. Your Licence will be forwarded to you in the mail within five working days.

Buying An Existing Higher Risk Personal Appearance Service Premises

If you are buying an existing hairdressing premises you will need to have the licence transferred to you. This can be done using the Transfer Application form.

However, it is recommended that you request an inspection to be undertaken by an Environmental Health Officer prior to buying to ensure that any non-compliance issues are raised and attended to prior to operation.

For further information or to request an inspection, please call the Environment Health Officers on 07 4783 9800.

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