PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELLBEING AMENDMENT (HAIRDRESSING RED TAPE REDUCTION) BILL 2014

Written on the 7 August 2014

Debate resumed from 25 June; motion of Hon. E. J. O'DONOHUE (Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation).

 

Mr LEANE (Eastern Metropolitan) -- Mr Melhem was going to speak on this bill on behalf of the opposition, but he is across the road at the memorial service for victims of the MH17 disaster along with a number of colleagues from both sides of the chamber. I am sure the rest of us who are in the chamber today share and support the sentiment of that ceremony.

Despite the fact that the bill really tinkers around the edges, the opposition supports it. Mr Davis nearly fell over as I said that, but we believe the government is implementing a common-sense approach to reducing the red tape that hairdressers and make-up artists must currently adhere to. The bill seeks to amend the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 so that these businesses need only register with the local council once and not annually. If there is a change of ownership or the new owners want to run the same type of business, they need to register with the council again. Under the amendments, councils and council officers would retain existing powers to monitor and enforce compliance with the act and regulations. This means that councils would still have power to inspect all registered premises at a reasonable hour, either to investigate a complaint from the public or to monitor compliance.

Current provisions in the act require a hairdressing salon proprietor or occupier to ensure that the premises are kept in a clean, sanitary and hygienic condition and that before carrying out any procedure each staff member cleans their implements, has clean hands and has attended to any open cuts or abrasions. As I said at the start, this seems like a common-sense approach.

These premises are important to the community. There are some 4000 hairdressing salons across the state. Anything that can be done to help them keep their businesses healthy and running well is a good thing. We support the bill.

 

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am very pleased to rise this morning to contribute to debate on the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Hairdressing Red Tape Reduction) Bill 2014.

We thank the opposition for its support of this bill. As Mr Leane said, this is a common-sense approach to reducing red tape.

The purpose of the bill is to amend the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 to provide for the registration, on an ongoing rather than periodic basis, of premises in which certain businesses are conducted, and to correct an outdated reference. As Mr Leane has highlighted, there are some 4000 hairdressing outlets across the state, which provide significant economic benefits. As someone who is a regular patron of a hairdresser, I suspect I support the industry a little more than my male colleagues do, especially some of those in the chamber with me today. Nevertheless these businesses are a necessary part of our community.

The bill goes to reducing red tape for hairdressers and beauty therapists, or those businesses where cosmetics and make-up is applied, but not where skin piercing or other invasive procedures might take place, such as tattooing or colonic irrigation, where there needs to be some stricter regulation.

We want to maintain the highest standards of public amenity in relation to those various activities, and that is why they do not fall within the scope of this regulation. They do need constant and regular review, and that will be ongoing and will be provided. When it comes to hairdressing outlets, make-up artists and cosmetics, as I said, there will just be the need for a one-off annual review. That review will be conducted by councils on an annual basis. They will monitor and enforce compliance with the standards and will charge a renewal fee of between $100 and $250. That is the current status.

The regulations require operators to ensure that their premises, equipment and work systems are clean, hygienic and do not put the public at any risk. That is why we want to make this as simple as possible for businesses that do not pose a high public risk.

However, we need to maintain the strictest controls and infection control measures for businesses such as tattoo parlours and places where there is penetration of the skin -- ear piercing and things like that -- where there can be transmission of blood-borne viruses, including hepatitis and HIV.

This is a straightforward bill. There are thousands of hairdressers, barbers and make-up businesses operating in Victoria. The amendments will reduce red tape for all those businesses that provide a lower risk to the public.

In the seat of Oakleigh, which is an area in the Southern Metropolitan Region, there are quite a number of hair and beauty salon outlets and places like Marzi Hairdressing in Oakleigh and Little Hollywood in Hughesdale.

Hon. DM. Davis -- Mario's in Kew.

Ms CROZIER -- There is also Mario's in Kew. Mr Davis frequents Mario's regularly, I suspect. Once we have our own hairdressers and barbers, we are all generally loyal clients of those businesses. They have a very important role to play within the Victorian community. This is another move from the coalition government to reduce red tape.

I mention also the correction of an outdated reference in section 41 of the principal act. Clause 4 will replace reference to a ministerial committee in section 41(1)(d) with the Commission for Children and Young People, established under section 6 of the Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012.

All functions previously performed by a ministerial committee under section 41(1)(d) are now performed by the commission. That is a fairly straightforward technical amendment.

I have some background here in relation to the economic benefits of hairdressers, make-up salons and the like. In 2014 IBISWorld published a report entitled Hairdressing and Beauty Services in Australia. This is a national report. There are 21 777 businesses nationally. Their revenue amounts to around $3.9 billion. It is a very important industry. This is another move by the coalition to support small business by reducing red tape. In reducing their costs this bill will enable those organisations to have ongoing registration rather than the annual registration that is currently in place. As Mr Leane said, it is common sense to have a one-off registration process as opposed to one that operates on an annual basis.

Again I congratulate the government for taking this initiative and highlighting the need to reduce the burden on small business by reducing red tape.

I commend the bill to the house.

 

Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) -- As the two previous speakers have comprehensively covered what this bill is about, I am only going to speak on it very briefly. The Greens will support this bill -- it is common sense and logical to do so. I have consulted extensively with my hairdresser, Nathan Stafford, and he tells me that this is a good idea. I feel quite comforted that it is okay. With those few words, the Greens will support this bill because it is absolutely sensible.

 

Mrs MILLAR (Northern Victoria) -- It gives me pleasure to rise to make a brief contribution on this bill following my colleague Ms Crozier.

I have spoken with a number of those in the hairdressing industry in my electorate about this legislation, and I know it is greatly welcomed in terms of reducing red tape and bureaucracy for small businesses.

It is timely that this bill is being considered during the month of August, as the Small Business Festival Victoria is running across the state for the entire month, fostering the development of small businesses across Victoria. Victoria's small businesses employ more than 1.27 million people, and since 2010, when this government came to office, 77 000 extra jobs have been created by small businesses across the state. Small business remains the lead employer of Victorians, and bills like this one are welcome as they make it easier to do business in this state.

I have been going to Ann Maurie Salon in Gisborne for many years, as has my mother-in-law, Elaine, and my daughter, Harriet.

I pay tribute to Annie, Sabrina, Jess and the other staff. Every time you walk through the salon door there are smiles on their faces, and you always leave feeling great. This is what our Victorian hairdressers do for us. They do not just do our hair; they listen to us -- and we all know Victoria needs more good listeners -- they make us laugh and they care for us. As the title of the bill suggests, it is about health and wellbeing. I cannot emphasise enough the significance of all that hairdressers do.

I would like to mention Peter and Charlie at Hairroom in Hardware Lane. My husband, Rohan Millar, has been having his hair cut by Peter and Charlie for over 30 years. They are absolutely treasured by their clients, and I thank them and acknowledge their careers and service.

Every town has a hairdresser. As other speakers have mentioned, there are around 4000 hairdressers and barbers in Victoria.

Many of them have been in business providing outstanding service to their clients for many years. It is the market, not registration, which determines whether hairdressing businesses survive and flourish. Word of mouth and repeat business is a powerful signal of the quality of the services provided.

While trade unions and bureaucrats are in love with regulation and procedure, it is the market which most truly protects the public from poor operators. We should have confidence in its operation -- the invisible hand.

The bill provides for a one-off registration with the local council rather than the current annual process. Average registration fees are approximately $150 per annum. Councils will maintain all of their power to monitor compliance.

This bill brings common sense to the hairdressing industry, and it is with great pleasure that I commend this bill to the house.

 

Mr RONALDS (Eastern Victoria) -- I rise to support this good legislation. I am very surprised to find myself agreeing with everything that has been said on the other side of the chamber. As I have gone around my electorate, and in particular the lower house electorate of Monbulk, with a very good man, Mark Verschuur, who is a candidate for that seat, we have visited a lot of hairdressers, and the legislation has received a fantastic response.

It is important to note that about 4000 small businesses are affected by the legislation. There are 3100 hairdressers, 140 barbers and 780 make-up artists in Victoria. Like other speakers I want to mention my hairdresser.

Chumba Concept Salon in Warragul was started some years ago by Carl and Belinda Keeley. They have now extended their business to include another salon in Windsor. It is a great business, which employs a number of people. Importantly, it has won awards not only in Australia but around the world. This is a great testament to people who wanted a bit of a tree change, moved to Warragul and have done so well in their business. It would be remiss of me not to mention my hairdresser, Debbie, who does a fantastic job, although I am very concerned that every time I go I seem to come out with my hair a little lighter in colour. She assures me that it is not of her doing.

The government is committed to a reduction in red tape. It is hard to believe that local businesses were being charged $150 on average and sometimes a lot more to register their business and to make sure they were complying with the legislation. It is not just about saving money for small businesses; it is also about making sure the costs of compliance beyond the $150 is reduced.

It takes people away from their businesses and away from employing people.

Small business is the biggest employer in the state, in fact in the country, and anything we can do to remove red tape and the compliance burden helps to employ more people and at the end of the day gives more people opportunities to work, which is a great thing. This is another great example of the government removing red tape and building a better Victoria.

Motion agreed to.

Read second time.

Third reading

Hon. D. M. DAVIS (Minister for Health) -- By leave, I move:

That the bill be now read a third time.

In doing so I thank honourable members for their contributions, and I thank the other parties in the chamber for their support of the bill. I also want to record my thanks to the department for the work that has been done in working through the bill to a sensible conclusion. It will reduce red tape and costs to businesses, and they are businesses that we all know and deal with directly and regularly. Lowering the cost to business ultimately lowers the cost of services. I thank the relevant industry too -- hairdressing and make-up artists -- for their consultation in the processes.

With those remarks, I wish the bill well.


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