Penalties for allowing minors on premises and under-age drinking

As a liquor licensee, you are responsible for your actions and the actions of your staff. When your employees commit an offence, you are presumed to have participated in the offence. This means that both you and the staff member may be liable and fined.

If a minor is on the premises, each of these people may have committed an offence:

  • the licensee or permit holder
  • the person in control of the premises, for example, the approved manager (if separate from the licensee or permit holder)
  • the employee or security agent that allowed the minor to enter the premises (if applicable).

The only defences available to you for allowing a non-exempt minor onto your licensed premises are if:

  • the minor entered without your knowledge and authority (e.g. they snuck in) and you exercised due diligence to avoid them committing the offence
  • you honestly and reasonably believed they were 18 or older or sighted acceptable identification (ID) indicating they were 18 or older.

On-the-spot fines

Office of Liquor and Gaming (OLGR) compliance officers can issue on-the-spot fines under the Liquor Act 1992 and the Wine Industry Act 1994.

Penalties when prosecuted

Licensees and staff can be prosecuted and fined up to $16,130 if a non-exempt minor is found on the licensed premises.

Prosecution for supplying alcohol to a minor on licensed premises can result in penalties of up to $80,650 for a licensee or approved manager and $12,904 for a bar attendant or individual.

How to prevent prosecution

You and your staff can avoid prosecution by:

  • ensuring minors are not on the premises (unless they are exempt)
  • training all new and existing staff in the responsible service of alcohol (RSA) and ID checking, and regularly reminding them of the law and risks of being penalised—document all training and keep records for due diligence
  • ensuring all employees ask for ID at entry and throughout the venue
  • ensuring signage about the consequences of using false ID and refusal of service is clearly displayed at entry and exit points and throughout the premises.

Licence suspension

Under the Liquor Act, a liquor licence will be suspended if, within a 2-year period, 2 convictions are recorded against them for any combination of the following offences:

  • the licensee/manager fails to ensure minor not on premises (section 155(3A))
  • the licensee/permit holder/manager allows liquor to be consumed by a minor on licensed premises (section 156(1))
  • supplying liquor to a minor in a public place (section 156(2)).

The licence that relates to the premises where the latest offence was committed is the one that's suspended.

What are you really buying them campaign

We encourage licensees to actively support the What are you really buying them? alcohol harm minimisation campaign.

This campaign aims to educate adults about irresponsibly supplying alcohol to under 18s.

Download campaign signs and LCD screen images for use in your bottle shop and licensed venue.

Also consider...