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The Hairdressers Registration Board was a statutory authority responsible for the registration and training of hairdressers and the regulation of hairdressing premises and schools.
Establishment of the Hairdressers Registration Board
The Board was established in 1937 under the provisions of the Hairdressers Registration Act 1936 (No.4396).
According to M.V. Anderson, the first Registrar of the Board, the original Act was introduced as a Members Bill and was modelled on the provisions of the Medical Act which governed the registration of dentists. It had been initially sponsored by the Master Ladies Hairdressers and Cosmeticians Association of Victoria, but the Minister of Health insisted that the legislation also cover the registration of Men's Hairdressers and Schools. Debate emphasised the danger to the public from unskilled work. The schools of hairdressing had been established because there was a shortage of applicants for apprenticeships, the traditional means of training hairdressers.
The Board consisted of representatives of the industry and government authorities and from 1975 consisted of ten persons appointed by the Governor in Council. The ten were a chairman who had no pecuniary interest in the industry, a nominee of the Minister of Education, a representative from the registered schools, a representative from the Industrial Training Commission and two representatives from each of the Master Ladies Hairdressers, the Master Hairdressers and the Employees Federation.
The Board was virtually autonomous since it raised its own revenue through the charging of annual registration fees and the receipt of fines and legal costs paid by defendants who were prosecuted for breaches of the regulations.
Functions of the Board
Under the provisions of sections (7) and (8) of the Hairdressers Registration Act, the Board was required to maintain a register of hairdressers and to approve and register schools of hairdressing, other than those controlled by the Education Department. Section (11) of the Act prohibited non-registered persons from calling themselves hairdressers and from practising the trade. Applicants were registered in particular classes of hairdressing and were only permitted to practise in classes for which they were registered.
The Board made regulations regarding standards of hygiene, sanitation and safety in the conduct of premises and schools and standards of training and qualifications of teachers. The health and safety regulations were not to be in contravention of the Health Act and in 1980 the Health Commission assumed all responsibility for standards of hygiene in premises, while the Board retained jurisdiction over schools. The Board conducted examinations for students from registered schools of hairdressing and, when necessary, for applicants from overseas.
Under section (14) of the Act the Board had the power to conduct investigations under sections 14-16 of the Evidence Act 1958 and under section (17) the Board could authorise inspectors to prosecute persons in breach of the regulations.
Abolition of the Board
An Inquiry into Labour Market Impacts of Alternative Training Arrangements for the Victorian Hairdressing and Beauty Industries was conducted by Coopers and Lybrand Services - Management Consultants in 1984-5 and arising from the recommendations of the Inquiry, the Hairdressers Registration Act was repealed on 1 January 1986 and thus the Board was abolished.
The major impact of the repeal of the Hairdressers Registration Act, other than the abolition of the Board, was the change from a system of registration to one of accreditation. Hairdressers had previously been required to apply for registration annually, but with the repeal of the Act, a Tradesman's Certificate or Certificate of Proficiency was issued to qualified applicants on the completion of their training. It became the function of the Industrial Training Commission to inspect and accredit schools of hairdressing for approval under the Industrial Training Act and to examine students for the Tradesman's Certificate or Certificate of Proficiency. The Education Department Colleges of Hairdressing were also affected by the repeal of the Act in so far as their graduates received the Tradesman's Certificate or Certificate of Proficiency and were thus no longer required to seek annual registration. The Education Department Colleges were not responsible to the Industrial Training Commission for examination or accreditation. The staff of the Hairdressing Registration Board were transferred to the Department of Employment and Industrial Affairs.