Underage teenagers will no longer be able to drink alcohol at restaurants and pubs in Victoria and there will be tougher requirements for parents to host underage parties.
The changes to the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 came into effect in Victoria on Thursday, after being passed through the Victorian Parliament on June 5.
Licensees are now prohibited from supplying liquor to a minor for consumption on licensed premises under any circumstances.
In the past, minors could consume alcohol on licensed premises while eating a meal if in the company of a parent or guardian.
There will also be tougher requirements on parents hosting underage parties.
The old Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 required party hosts to gain consent from parents of underage kids, usually in the form of handwritten notes.
Now in addition to gaining consent, parents are required by law to actively police underage teens’ drinking, including monitoring how much and what kind of alcohol they’ve consumed, if they’ve eaten and if teens are intoxicated.
We recommend that parents don’t supply alcoholic drinks to underage teens.Maya Rivis, VicHealth
New research shows most parents support tougher restrictions on alcohol supply to underage teenagers.
VicHealth research released on Thursday highlighted 60 per cent of parents believed there were no circumstances where other parents of adults should supply alcohol to underage teens at parties.
VicHealth chief executive Jerril Rechter welcomed the changes to the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998.
“Our research clearly shows that parents want to be in charge of when, where and how much their kids drink. We all want our kids to come home safe from parties,” she said.
“We want parents to understand that under the new law they are responsible for the well-being of teenagers if they host a party with alcoholic drinks.”
The survey also showed parents were unsure about the harm from alcoholic drinks on their teens and how best to introduce them to drinking.
Only 37 per cent of parents understood it was best not to supply teenagers with alcohol to protect them from harm, according to VicHealth data.
VicHealth principal program officer for alcohol Maya Rivis and parent of teenagers Annabelle and Thomas said it was important for parents to know what they can and can’t do under the new law.
“As a parent it can be really tricky hosting parties where alcohol is served. You need to think about getting consent from other parents as well as making sure kids aren’t drinking too much,” Ms Rivis said.
“We recommend that parents don’t supply alcoholic drinks to underage teens – it’s risky for their health, it can cause parties to get out of control and you need to be careful you comply with the law.”
The amendment to the Act also prohibits a person, without reasonable excuse, from knowingly delivering alcoholic drinks to a person under 18 years of age.