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Underage drinking laws

Anyone under the age of 18 years old is considered a minor. Significant penalties can apply to anyone selling or supplying liquor to a minor in NSW, including:

  • on-the-spot penalty notice of $1,100
  • court imposed fines of up to $11,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment
  • the licensee or approved manager can be permanently disqualified and the liquor licence suspended.

The law

The Liquor Act 2007 details restrictions that apply to under 18s in licensed and unlicensed premises.

Section 118

Outlines the consumption of liquor by minors on a licensed premises. A minor must not obtain, consume or carry liquor away from a licensed premises. Fines range between $220 and $2,200.

Read: Section 118 of the Liquor Act 2007

Section 117

Outlines the supply of alcohol to minors. A person - including a parent or responsible adult - must not sell or supply alcohol to a minor in any licensed premises in NSW.

Read: Section 117 of the Liquor Act 2007

Parents, guardians, and responsible adults

Parents and guardians have responsibilities under the NSW liquor laws, when accompanying and supervising minors in licensed venues, to prevent them from consuming alcohol in a licensed venue.

For example, if a parent, or otherwise responsible adult, allows a minor to consume alcohol in a licensed venue that is a hotel or club, they risk an on-the-spot penalty notice of $330 or court imposed fine of $3,300.

To avoid a penalty, they must prove that they were not the responsible adult in relation to the minor at the relevant time.

Alcohol sales via the internet or other media

Businesses that sell alcohol by taking orders through their website or other remote ordering method need to display their licence number on their website, in advertisements and published or digital promotions like newsletters. A maximum court imposed fine of $2,200, or an on-the-spot penalty of $220, applies to a licensee for these offences.

Licensees must also require the buyer to supply their date of birth to confirm the buyer is at least 18 years of age. A buyer only needs to supply their date of birth once if the licensee records it for future purchases.

Licensees need to provide written instructions to the person making the delivery of the alcohol and ensure they deliver to:

  • the adult person who placed the order
  • another adult at those premises who undertakes to accept it on behalf of the person who placed the order, or
  • if the delivery is not made on the same day as the order is taken or the sale is made, in accordance with the customer’s instructions.

A maximum court imposed fine of $2,200, or an on-the-spot penalty of $220, applies to a licensee for these offences.