Responsible Service of Alcohol

Being intoxicated and the associated behaviours is viewed to be a common and sometimes expected part of the drinking experience. Changing community acceptance of this and the problems that go with it is one of the most important parts of creating a less harmful drinking culture.

Creating support and expectations for licensed settings that encourage sensible drinking through the responsible service of alcohol is one strategy to assist in reducing alcohol-related problems on and off licensed premises.

Responsible service laws help to reduce the likelihood that others will cause problems for you, your friends or your family.

Commonly asked questions

How can I support responsible service of alcohol?

  • Understand that bar staff have legal responsibilities to refuse service to those that appear to be intoxicated.
  • If working behind a bar (whether paid or as a volunteer), ensure that you adhere to the laws in relation to responsible service of alcohol.
  • Ensure that you do not supply alcohol to an intoxicated person as this is an offence under the Liquor Act (2010). [1]
  • Understand that in addition to the standard responsible service laws, each licensed venue has its own characteristics and may have additional legal requirements or restrictions with regard to the sale of alcohol.
  • Look after your friends. If they seem to be getting intoxicated get them to slow their drinking and offer them non-alcoholic drinks. Remember this would assist in preventing them from being removed from a venue for intoxication or being refused entry.

Is it an offence for bar staff to serve alcohol to me when I appear to be drunk?

Yes. It is an offence to sell or supply alcohol to an intoxicated person on licensed or regulated premises.

Isn’t it the individual‘s responsibility to stop drinking rather than it being up to the bar staff to refuse them service?

Alcohol is a drug that affects the central nervous system and brain function. Consuming alcohol can affect the drinker’s ability to think rationally and to reasonably deal with situations or their environment. Bar staff have a legal responsibility to refuse service of alcohol to people who are drunk.

[1] Liquor Act 2010