Offence for supplying alcohol to minors
The practice of adults supplying alcohol to minors is often called secondary supply. It is a complex issue. Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, a person must not supply liquor to a minor and a minor must not receive, possess or consume liquor.
New laws introduced by the Victorian Government make it an offence under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 for adults to supply alcohol to a minor (a person under the age of 18 years) in a private home without parental consent. Previously the Act did not apply to private residences.
The government has introduced this legislation because it believes that parents should have greater control over their child’s consumption of alcohol. These laws have been introduced in light of the latest scientific evidence of the negative impacts of alcohol consumption on adolescent development, including the National Health and Medical Research Council national guidelines released in 2009, 'Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol'. The Guidelines state that:
- Children under 15 years of age are at the greatest risk of harm from drinking.
- Not drinking in this age group - under 15 years - is especially important.
- For young people aged 15 to 17 years, the safest option is to delay drinking for as long as possible.
There are many good reasons to encourage your teenager not to drink alcohol before turning 18. Early drinking is related to increased alcohol consumption in adolescence and young adulthood. These drinking patterns are also related to the possibility of damage to the developing brain and development of alcohol-related harms in adulthood.
The new legislation will require adults to have parental consent before supplying alcohol to minors in their home. This will help parents feel more assured when their children are visiting friends’ houses that they are not drinking alcoholic beverages without their knowledge.
An adult who supplies alcohol to a minor without a parent’s consent could be subject to the same penalty faced by licensees who supply alcohol to minors in licensed venues – a maximum of over $7000.
For more information download a copy of the fact sheet below.
Supplying Alcohol to Minors in a Private Home - Fact sheet (421kb, pdf) - Department of Justice, Victoria - March 2011