Youth and Alcohol
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The Sale or Supply of Alcohol to Youths (Police Offences Act 1935) legislation regulates the supply of alcohol to people under the age of 18 years, on private property.
This legislation supports a responsible approach by parents, guardians, and other adults with parental rights, who choose to supply young people with alcohol.
What does the legislation mean?
If you supply someone under the age of 18 years with alcohol on private property, and:
- you are not the responsible adult
- do not have the permission of the responsible adult, and
- do not supply alcohol in a responsible manner
you will be breaking the law, and may be fined or face imprisonment.
The current National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol advocate that there is no safe level of consumption of alcohol for anyone under 18 years.
Who is a responsible adult?
A responsible adult is a parent, step-parent, guardian, or someone with parental rights and responsibilities for a young person. Additionally a responsible adult can also be a person who has been authorised to supply alcohol to a youth.
Responsible supply of alcohol means appropriately supervising consumption, ensuring food is available and limiting the quantity and type of alcohol.
Can I still let my teenager have an alcoholic drink at home?
Yes, if you are a responsible adult for the youth and:
- consideration is given to the age of the youth, and
- neither the responsible adult nor the youth is intoxicated, and
- the supply is consistent with the responsible supervision of that youth, and
- a responsible adult is supervising the consumption of liquor, and
- consideration is given to the quantity, type and time period over which the liquor is supplied, and
- food is provided for the youth to consume with the liquor.
What happens if my teenager has a party or gathering at home with alcohol present?
If there is a possibility that alcohol will be consumed at the party or gathering, then you must obtain permission from the responsible adult for each of the young people. The way in which you obtain the permission is up to you: it can be written, verbal or electronic, just make sure that it is legitimate and reliable.
What are my responsibilities as an adult in supervising the use of alcohol at a teenage party or gathering?
As the responsible adult, in addition to gaining permission, you must supervise appropriately. You must ensure that you are not intoxicated and that the young people do not become intoxicated. You need to provide non-alcoholic drinks and food. You need to be aware of the age of the young people, and the type and quantity of alcohol being consumed.
What happens if an adult doesn’t act responsibly?
Fines for minor offences may be imposed by infringement notice. Significant fines or a jail term of up to 12 months may be incurred for more serious offences.
Other resources available which provide information about the Sale and Supply of Alcohol to Youth legislation:
- Sale and Supply of Alcohol to Youth video – provides an overview of the legislation.
- Resources – Drug Education Network (den.org.au) – provides a variety of resources.