A metaphorical victory party is being held across the industry currently (or a real victory party, what do we know?) to celebrate the NSW state government’s decision to retain the Hairdressers Act 2003. Removing the legislation would have eliminated the requirement for hairdressers to hold a qualification – a decision many felt would tarnish the integrity of the industry.

Hair stylist straightening hair to her customer in a modern hairdresser salon, closeup on brushes and scissors

The Australian Worker’s Union (AWU) and the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC) were wholly against the repeal, and worked to unite the industry in fighting the change. As such, the AHC launched a massive lobbying campaign to keep the legislation intact, creating videos and a survey through which hairdressers could have their say, all of which was shared hundreds of times on social media.

“Currently, the Act states that to do hairdressing you must be a hairdresser or an apprentice. If the Act is repealed then anyone can state that they are a hairdresser. We need to protect the credibility of our profession and also protect consumers from entering a salon and having someone do their hair with absolutely no qualifications whatsoever,” the call-out read.

As such, the decision to leave the legislation alone has been met with borderline-euphoria. “The AHC is very happy with the result and the amount of feedback we received shows that the industry does want to protect the credibility of our industry and safety of our consumers,” AHC CEO Sandy Chong said.

The state government’s choice to keep the legislation was actually juxtaposed to the options laid out in its own discussion paper, which called to either retain and update the act, or repeal it entirely. These options were clearly made redundant by the consensus of the industry.

“The government issued a discussion paper canvassing reform options regarding the Hairdressers Act, one of which was repealing the act,” Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello told Fairfax Media. “The government has listened to the concerns of stakeholders and taken the decision to retain the act in its current form. There was overwhelming feedback to retain the act. Given the concerns raised, rather than delay the process, we have decided to provide stakeholders with certainty regarding the act.”

The act itself states that professional hairdressers must hold at least a Certificate III in hairdressing, with exemptions only allowed for apprentices training under qualified professionals.

The hairdressing community rallied to protect the sanctity of the industry – it doesn’t get much more inspirational than that.