Underage drinking laws

Licensees and staff

Significant penalties can apply if you sell or supply 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, and
  • the suspension or cancellation of your venue's liquor licence.

It is also your responsibility to prevent minors from unlawfully entering and remaining in restricted bar areas of your licensed venue.

Read more information about minors in licensed venues.

Read the Underage drinking laws - fact sheet (PDF, 272KB)

Parents, guardians and responsible adults

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

If a parent/guardian allows a minor to consume alcohol in a licensed venue, you risk an on-the-spot penalty notice of $330 or court imposed fine of $3,300.

Further information about the NSW underage drinking laws is explained in this fact sheet​.

Supplying liquor to a minor at home or on unlicensed premises

If you are a parent or guardian (or person authorised by a parent or guardian) and you supply alcohol to your underage child (minor) away from a licensed premises, such as at a private gathering or home or in an unlicensed restaurant, you must do so in a manner that is consistent with the responsible supervision of the minor.

What is responsible for supervision of a minor?

The relevant matters that would be considered by the courts in determining the responsible supervision of a minor include:

  • the age of the child,
  • whether the parent, guardian or authorised person is intoxicated,
  • whether the child is consuming food with the alcohol,
  • whether the person supplying the alcohol is responsibly supervising the child's consumption of that alcohol, and
  • the quantity and type of alcohol, and the time period over which it is supplied.

You should be aware that the supply of alcohol to a child who is intoxicated is not, in any circumstance, consistent with the responsible supervision of a minor.

Significant penalties can apply where alcohol is provided to a child who is intoxicated or not in a manner that is consistent with the responsible supervision of the minor.

A $1,100 on-the-spot penalty can be issued or the courts can impose fines of up to $11,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment.

Alcohol and your kids – A guide for parents and carers

The Australian Government's Department of Health and Ageing publishes guidelines to help parents understand the risks of alcohol consumption by young people. The guidelines note that children under 15 years of age are at the greatest risk of harm from drinking, and that for this age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important. For young people aged 15−17 years, the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible.

For more information please visit the Department of Health's Alcohol and your kids: a guide for parents and carers.