Parents and other adults supplying alcohol to under-18s at parties or at home should be forced to abide by new rules ensuring there is ''responsible supervision'', under proposed changes to NSW liquor laws.
A parliamentary inquiry also recommended giving courts the option of sending adults and children to counselling if they were guilty of supplying alcohol to minors.
The inquiry was ordered by Premier Barry O'Farrell in response to concerns about risky under-age drinking.
In NSW, a person must not supply alcohol to a minor unless they are the parent or guardian. The maximum penalty for supplying liquor to a minor is $11,000, one year in jail, or both.
But the defence against prosecution is proof the supply of alcohol was authorised by the child's parent or guardian.
The inquiry found the law should be strengthened to say parents, guardians and adults with their permission supply alcohol to minors ''in a manner that is consistent with responsible supervision''.
Factors determining responsible supervision would include: the child's age, whether the adult or child was drunk, whether the child was drinking alcohol with food, the quantity and type of alcohol and the time over which was it supplied.
''Ultimately, the committee believes that incorporating the concept of 'responsible supervision' into the Liquor Act will significantly strengthen the provisions regulating the supply of alcohol to minors,'' the inquiry report said.
But it rejected calls to introduce a minimum age limit for the supply of alcohol to minors by a parent or authorised adult.
It found the introduction of an age limit, such as 15, was not necessary if the age of the child was one of the factors being considered when determining if alcohol had been supplied responsibly.
The inquiry rejected suggestions for stricter authorisation requirements, such as permission notes from parents, because they could be forged easily.
It also said existing penalties were adequate, despite calls for a three-year suspension of the driver's licence of anyone guilty of supplying alcohol to a minor.
But the inquiry recommended giving courts the ability to broaden penalty options to include counselling. This would provide an alternative to a fine for people on low incomes.
Inquiry chairman Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith said the committee recognised there was ''great concern'' about high levels of alcohol use among young people, and acknowledged calls for a total ban on the supply of alcohol to minors.
But he said the committee found ''a blanket prohibition on the provision of alcohol to minors would be resisted and perceived as an unwelcome and thus unenforceable intrusion into the affairs of the family''.
The ''responsible supervision'' provisions would mirror laws in Queensland and Tasmania.