WHEN the owners at Gallery Ink found out the business had its application for a new operating licence rejected, they cried.
The Rockhampton tattoo studio is believed to be one of the first in Queensland to have its application for a tattoo licence rejected under new legislation introduced by the Newman Government.
The weekend was supposed to be the start of an exciting new chapter for Gallery Ink as it announced plans to begin operating seven days a week.
Instead, owners Veronica and Bernie Bartley were left devastated after finding out on Friday their shop was being closed. Veronica (pictured below) said the only reason given to them was because of a "security determination".
"I'm just gutted," Veronica said.
"We don't drink, we don't smoke, we go to church and we pay our taxes."
Bernie has been a tattooist for 30 years and Veronica has worked in the disabilities sector for eight years, where she is required to undergo annual police checks. She has contacted the Office of Fair Trading, which said its decision was based on the recommendation of police.
When police interviewed Veronica about six months ago as part of the application process, she admitted she knew members of the Rebels bikie gang before they became members.
"Have you got to lie, or throw people away?" she asked.
"We don't do anything with them; they've got no interest with our business.
"I can't see how they can close us down. We haven't been convicted of anything."
A condition of the application process means people who are rejected are not able to get compensation for loss of income.
The owners are planning to hire a solicitor to appeal the decision. Veronica also operates an art gallery out of the studio, and is unsure whether she will be able to keep it open while the studio is closed.
They are now waiting anxiously for the outcome of the application of their son, who owns Rocky Tattoo Studio.
A spokesman for the Queensland Police Service said each application was determined on its merits.
QPS provide the Office of Fair Trading with a suitability assessment regarding the license applicant and work in a collaborative approach with the Office of Fair Trading, and the tattoo industry to eliminate criminal activity and illegal association in the industry.
QPS will continue to assist the Office of Fair Trading in maintaining integrity and public confidence in the tattoo industry by continuing to monitor license holders to ensure they remain suitable to hold a license under the Act.