Minors and responsible adults

The following information about responsible service of alcohol and minors should be read in conjunction with minors and under-age drinking on licensed premises.

Definition of a 'minor'

Section 17 of the Law Reform Act 1995 states that the age of majority is 18 years. Therefore, any person under the age of 18 years old in Queensland is considered a minor.

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Definition of an exempt minor

An 'exempt minor' is a person under the age of 18 who is permitted on licensed premises in particular circumstances or for a particular reason. They must never consume, or be supplied, liquor. Common circumstances for exempt minors include:

  • the minor is eating a meal on the premises
  • the minor is accompanied by a 'responsible adult' who is responsibly supervising the minor (e.g. watching a sporting event on TV while at a licensed premises with a parent)
  • the minor is attending an organised function being held on the premises (e.g. as an invited guest at a 21st birthday party held in a hotel's function room)
  • the premises has a current community club licence (e.g. RSL or large sports club), community other licence (e.g. small sporting club) or restricted liquor permit, and the minor's presence does not contravene the club's rules or a condition of the licence or permit (e.g. a junior member may approach a sports club bar to purchase a soft drink).

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Minors may also be allowed on licensed premises in other circumstances, such as when they live or work at the premises. Also, the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming may approve other particular reasons, such as underage events.

However, if the minor is on the premises after 5pm and the premises has a nightclub licence, then the exemption does not apply. In this case, the minor is not exempt, even if eating a meal on the premises or in the company of a responsible adult.

A minor, other than an exempt minor, may be refused entry to a licensed premises. If the minor then enters, or attempts to enter the premises the licensee and their staff may use reasonable force to remove the minor.

For more information, read exemptions for minors on licensed premises.

Definition of a 'responsible adult'

A 'responsible adult' is:

  • a parent
  • a step-parent or guardian
  • an adult who has 'parental rights, duties and responsibilities' in relation to the minor.

A responsible adult is the person who makes adult decisions on behalf of the minor. For example:

  • an 18-year-old adult with a 17-year-old spouse, partner or sibling, would not be making parental decisions on the minor's behalf
  • a 20-year-old adult with a 10-year-old brother or sister may be a responsible adult.

The responsible adult must also actively supervise the minor.

Also consider...