Many licensees throughout Victoria find the laws relating to under age person on their premises quite confusing. We’ve put together answers to the five most commonly asked questions regarding minors on licensed premises.
1. When can a minor remain on a licensed premises?
There are a range of reasons why a person under 18 years of age may be allowed to enter and remain on a licensed premises, including due to a condition listed on the licence approved by the VCGLR.
Minors may also be allowed to remain on a licensed premises if they’re in the presence of a responsible adult, having a meal, are employed by the licensee, are completing a training program in hospitality or are a resident, if accommodation is supplied at the venue. They can also be present during alcohol-free events that are approved.
It is also worth noting that restaurant and café licences, or On Premises licenses with restaurant conditions, allow minors to remain on the licensed premises during ordinary trading hours, which is until 11pm.
2. Can a minor drink alcohol on a licensed premises?
There is only one circumstance under which a minor is permitted to drink alcohol on a licensed premises. In order for a person under 18 years of age to drink alcohol on a licensed premises, they must be accompanied by either their parent/s, spouse (over 18) or legal guardian AND must also consume a meal on your premises, in order to consume the alcohol.
There are no other circumstances under which a minor is permitted to consume alcohol on a licensed premises.
3. Can a minor serve alcohol?
A minor cannot be involved in the supply of alcohol, except if they are part of a training program that has individual approval from the VCGLR. A person under the age of 18 can, however, assist in the delivery of packaged liquor to a person over 18 years of age, for consumption off the licensed premises.
As an example, a minor can assist with carrying a slab of beer to a customer’s car.
4. What’s the definition of a responsible adult?
A minor can enter and remain on a licensed premises if in the presence of a responsible adult. A responsible adult is a person over the age of 18 years, who is the minor’s parent, step-parent, guardian or grandparent. A person over the age of 18 that is the spouse of the younger person, or a person who is acting in the place of parents and who could reasonably be expected to exercise responsible supervision of the younger person, may also be considered a responsible adult.
5. Can a patron be refused service if they have a minor in their presence?
A patron may be refused entry to or service at a licensed venue if they’re in the presence of a minor. The rationale behind this is dependent on the judgement of each individual licensee.
It is an offence under the Act for a person under 18 years of age to purchase or receive liquor from another person. So if a licensee believes that you may supply or on-sell liquor to the minor in your presence, they may refuse to allow you to enter their venue.
A licensee may have internal policies which dictate that people aged over 18 in school uniform, or individuals accompanied by minors are not allowed to enter their venue, so as to minimise the risk of liquor from the venue being provided to minors. This is not a legal requirement, but many venues take this precautionary approach to minimise risk, as legal penalties relating to the service of a minor may attract fines of up to 120 penalty units ($18,000).