Tattooist insurer raises fears of 'gang wars, grenades'
A TATTOOIST faces losing his business over fears grenades will be lobbed into the shopping centre where his business is based.
Agnes Tattoo Studio's Ian and Sharon Walker say they have been branded criminals.
Mr and Mrs Walker told The Observer insurer Allianz, the State Government's anti-bikie laws and Gladstone Regional Council were making life impossible.
He laid the blame on the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act, laws targeting outlaw bikie gangs.
Correspondence sent between his business, Allianz and the Agnes Water Shopping complex said tattoo studios were "a risky element due to most of them having connections with the bikies".
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The document also pointed out the "possibility of gang wars and perhaps a hand grenade or two raining down on the centre".
Mr Walker said the idea of grenades being thrown in Agnes Water was ridiculous.
"I've had no links with bikies my whole life," he said.
"The studio has been here for 3.5 years and we've never had a problem with insurance before.
"We came here to set up a business like everyone else but for some reason we don't get treated like everyone else."
Due to a change in underwriting criteria, Allianz is no longer able to cover tattoo operations.
Alternative insurance cover will be $15,000, which Mr Walker said was "just crazy".
The Walkers have also looked at moving to the Corfield Road Industrial site.
Mr Walker said he was told the council would not approve a tattoo studio to open on that site as it did not fit "Gladstone's vision" of Agnes Water.
Council CEO Stuart Randle said tattoo studios should be in a commercial zone.
"... The council advised Mr Walker that any application to change land use would be assessed in accord with the Miriam Vale Planning Scheme."
"A tattoo studio is a commercial business and so would best be situated in a zone that supports commercial uses."
A spokesperson for the Minister for Police, Jack Dempsey, said the VLAD act was designed to thwart criminals.
"As part of the Government's strong plan for a brighter and safer future for Queensland families new tattoo licensing legislation was introduced to eliminate criminal activity and illegal associations in the industry," the spokesperson said.
Allianz and the Agnes Water Shopping Complex body corporate did not respond to requests for comment.