Family Fun or Family Fail – we’ll help you pick the difference

As seen in the December Edition of QHA Review. 

A question that often pops up in general conversation with our Hotelier friends and clients is: when are minors actually allowed at my venue?  As licensees should be aware, it is illegal for under 18s or “minors” to be on the licensed premises. However, there are exemptions to this requirement that Hoteliers should be aware of so that they can stay on top both commercially and in the interest of compliance.

Section 155 of the Liquor Act 1992 (the Act) states that it is an offence for minors to be on licensed premises unless they are an exempt minor. An exempt minor is a person under the age of 18 who is permitted on licensed premises in particular circumstances or for a particular reason, however, they still must never consume, or be supplied, liquor.

Who is an exempt minor?

Common circumstances of exempt minors include:

  • a minor who is eating a meal on the premises or who is accompanied by a responsible adult (noting that if the minor is on the premises after 5pm, and the licence for the premises is a nightclub licence, then the exemption does not apply);
  • a minor who is attending an organised function held on the premises;
  • a minor who is attending a premises that has a community club licence, community other licence or restricted liquor permit and the minor’s presence does not contravene a condition on the licence or the club’s rules;
  • a minor who is a resident on the premises (i.e. staying in accommodation);
  • a minor who is working on the premises as an employee or while receiving training for employment or work experience; and
  • a minor who is on the premises for a purpose approved by the OLGR or endorsed in a condition on the licence.

We often receive questions from clients about allowing minors to book accommodation at licensed premises without being accompanied by a responsible adult – particularly around Schoolies time.  There is no express prohibition under the Act, as minors are allowed to be on licensed premises if they are a resident at the premises. However, it is at the Hotelier’s discretion whether to allow unaccompanied minors to book and stay in hotel rooms, and you may want to include these guidelines in your venue’s policy.

Any responsible adults out there?

Despite the usual connotations, the requirements for being a responsible adult are relatively straightforward. So when it comes to the appropriate supervision of minors, a responsible adult is a parent, step-parent, guardian or adult who has parental rights and responsibilities in relation to that minor.

As you will be well aware, there are penalties and fines for allowing non-exempt minors on your licensed premises, selling alcohol to minors, or allowing them to drink alcohol. So we recommend being stringent in relation to ID checking and monitoring of minors while they are at your Hotel.

If you require any assistance capitalising on the family friendly vibe at your venue, please contact me on 07 3224 0230.

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
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