For young people under 18
If you are under the age of 18 it is against the law to:
- Buy alcohol.
- Get someone to buy alcohol for you.
- Drink alcohol in a public place, e.g. park, street, beach, outdoor concert.
- Drink alcohol on any licensed premises, e.g. pub, nightclub, tavern.
- Go to a pub, nightclub or tavern unless you are with your parents or a responsible adult.
- Have alcohol in your possession in a public place. This includes your car.
- You can go to a restaurant where alcohol is served without your parents to have a meal but you cannot drink alcohol there.
There are exceptions when young people under 18 can be on licensed premises without a responsible adult:
- If you are doing a training course and it is a requirement of the course that you be present on the premises or if you are employed on the premises. If you have any doubts, ask the Manager.
- Where alcohol is sold or supplied at a sporting club or other association, if this is permitted by the rules of the club.
Offence for anyone to supply alcohol to a young person under 18
It is an offence for any person (whether under 18 or over) to supply alcohol to a young person under 18 without the consent of the young person’s parent or guardian. Even if the parent or guardian consents, a young person (under 18) cannot be supplied alcohol by anyone if the young person, supplier or parent (or all three) are drunk or if the supplier cannot supervise the young person.
What can happen?
Drinking alcohol on a licensed premises, e.g. pub, nightclub, tavern.
If you are suspected of being under the age of 18 and in a pub or nightclub, you may be asked to produce identification of age by staff (crowd controllers) or police.
- If you cannot produce identification of age, you may be asked to leave.
- If you give false identification, you may be charged by police.
- If you refuse to leave, you may be removed by staff (crowd controllers) using reasonable force.
- If you return or remain near the pub or nightclub you can be charged.
Drinking alcohol in a public place, e.g. park, street, beach, outdoor concert.
If you are caught drinking alcohol in a public place:
- You can be issued with an infringement notice (fine of $200).
- The alcohol you have on you can be taken by the police or ranger.
- Any open bottles or cans can be tipped out by the police or ranger.
- You can be taken into custody by police and held until your parent picks you up.
For people aged 18 and over
If you are aged 18 or over you can:
- Drink alcohol at a pub, nightclub or any other licensed premises.
- Buy alcohol from a liquor store.
- If you are drunk, violent, quarrelsome, disorderly or behaving indecently while in a pub, nightclub or licensed premises, the owner or manager must by law:
- Remove you (and you must not return for 24 hours).
- Refuse to serve you any more alcohol.
Even though you are aged 18 or over, it is still illegal to drink alcohol on the road or street.
For people at any age
At any age, you can be charged if:
- You supply alcohol to someone under the age of 18 without their parent’s consent (see above section).
- You drive a motor vehicle (e.g. car, scooter, etc.) when you have drunk alcohol and are over the limit.
- Your behaviour as a result of being drunk is causing a disturbance to others in public.
- You drink alcohol on public transport (bus, ferry, train) or at the bus or train station, unless it is a special area such as a pub at the station.
- You drink alcohol in a public place such as the park, road, oval, beachfront or public swimming pool without the consent of the person in authority having control of that place.
There may also be rules against drinking alcohol or having alcohol in your blood at your place of employment. If you breach this rule, you can lose your job.
Is there anywhere I can drink alcohol if I am under 18?
There is no restriction on a young person to drink alcohol in a private home so long as they have the consent of their parent or responsible adult.