CHILDREN under 16 will need parental consent before receiving any kind of body piercing under new laws to be introduced tomorrow. The new legislation will also ban teenagers under 18 from having their genitals or nipples pierced.Warrnambool Tattoo Studio owner Miranda Hughes said the laws would give the industry much-needed backing to refuse to do procedures on minors. Piercers who give children aged under 16 a non-intimate body piercing, such as ear piercings, without parental consent will now be slapped with a $2200 fine. Mrs Hughes said she already required parental consent before doing any piercings on teenagers under 18. "It (the new law) does make it easier to refuse minors because prior to the introduction of the law . . . technically we were actually committing age discrimination," she said. While her studio does not do any genital piercing, Mrs Hughes has pierced the nipples of males aged 16 and over, with parental consent. She has refused to pierce the nipples of females aged under 18 for health reasons."On a male child, a male nipple is redundant, it doesn't do anything, so there's generally no problem putting jewellery in it," she said. Under the laws, any intimate piercing of a minor, with or without parental consent, could earn the piercer a $6600 fine. The same penalty will apply to those who perform scar body art, tongue-splitting, branding or beading on someone under 18. Mrs Hughes said the changes came after a long-running debate throughout the body art industry over exactly what constituted "intimate" piercing. While she said she refuses as many requests for piercing as she actually performs due to age concerns, Mrs Hughes was unsure if the new laws would push more teenagers into backyard operations. Attorney-General Rob Hulls said the new laws were the result of health concerns like blood-borne viruses, infection, scarring and nerve damage as the popularity of body art increased. Piercers can escape fines if they prove the client duped them into believing they were of legal age by producing fraudulent identification.