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Australia: ACT passes new laws to crack down on ‘irresponsible’ supply of alcohol to minors by parents

Australia: ACT passes new laws to crack down on ‘irresponsible’ supply of alcohol to minors by parents


August 4, 2015

New liquor laws cracking down on parents who supply their children or other minors with alcohol irresponsibly have been passed by the ACT Government.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said the Liquor Amendment Bill would bring Canberra into line with laws in other states and territories.

“New ‘secondary supply’ offences will prohibit the supply of liquor or low-alcohol liquor to children and young people by anyone other than a parent or guardian or someone authorised by a parent or guardian on private property or land,” he said.

“A parent, guardian, or someone authorised, will still be allowed to supply liquor on private property so long as it is done in a responsible manner.”

People who breach the secondary supply law can be fined up to $3,000.

The new laws will also make it more difficult for people with criminal connections to obtain a liquor licence.

But the bill was passed without the support of the ACT Opposition, who said the laws were too vague.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Hansen said they would be tough to implement, as they left it to police to determine what constitutes “responsible” service of alcohol.

“We should not be writing and voting on a law that leaves it to the discretion of someone else to say ‘well I’m going in there and saying my view is it’s zero glasses’ another person it’s three,” he said.

Mr Corbell refuted the Opposition’s claim.

He said the line between responsible and irresponsible service of alcohol by parents was a clear one.

“Clearly it would be irresponsible of somebody to continue to ply a minor with alcohol to the extent that they were completely intoxicated, however it would be responsible to supervise a young person if they had a glass of alcohol at a function or event,” he said.

The bill has also expanded the functions and membership of the Liquor Advisory Board.

“The broader membership, including the victims of crime commissioner, and representatives for health impacts, young people and off licensees, will allow the board to have a greater focus on strategic issues, and the range of responses that can contribute to addressing alcohol-related harms,” Mr Corbell said.

A spokesman for the minister said the part of the bill regulating the supply of alcohol to children by parents or guardians would come into effect within the next 12 months, allowing time for an education campaign to take place.

He said the rest of the laws relating to the Liquor Advisory Board and liquor licensing were likely to come into effect in the next two weeks