WA News


Youth drinking targeted in WA liquor law review

Underage drinking has been targeted in a review of Western Australia's liquor laws, recommending that adults who supply other people's children with alcohol should face criminal prosecution.

The 270-page report, by an independent review committee of WA's Liquor Control Act 1988, was presented to the government for consideration on Tuesday, suggested a total of 141 recommendations.

The review recommended making it illegal to supply an underage person with alcohol, but said it should be a defence if the person was their parent or guardian, or were authorised by them to supply the alcohol.

It recommended the legal drinking age should remain at 18.

Young people attempting to use fake IDs were also targeted.

If passed through parliament, an amendment would make it an offence for a person who gives their identification to another person to use, and juveniles would face fines of up to $2000 for using false IDs, tampering with proof-of-age documents and creating fakes.


The review would boost powers for WA Police, allowing cadets to catch premises selling alcohol to juveniles, and that licensees should ask anyone who looked younger than 25 for identification.

It suggested that in some cases, police use an alcohol intervention program for youths instead of issuing them with infringement notices.

Australian Hotels Association (WA) CEO Bradley Woods criticised the review for championing the causes of WA Police and health alcohol groups over the interests of the hospitality industry and the public.

"[The review] ignored the government's policy about not introducing entrapment laws for police to prosecute using children," he said.

"It's recommended that instead, and it ignores a lot of the red tape recommendations put forward not only by the licensed industry but by the former committee that was chaired by the Minister for Tourism Liza Harvey when she reviewed these issues back in 2009/2010."

He said it was the result of those appointed to the review committee not being involved in the industry prior to working on the review.

Bouncers were also targeted in the review, with the suggestion they should join bartenders in completing Responsible Service of Alcohol training.

It was also suggested that establishments deemed as high risk, or those located in entertainment precinct implement ID-scanning to keep track of who enters the premises. "Drunk" patrons would be allowed to remain in the establishment as long as they are not "unruly" and are no longer served alcohol.

It was revealed last year that alcohol delivery websites were using a loophole in legislation to deliver “gift hampers” as late as 4am, without a license. 

The review recommended making it a criminal offence to deliver alcohol to a juvenile in Western Australia – aimed at both the person delivering the alcohol and the licensee.

Licensed premised would only be allowed to trade until midnight on Sundays where a public holiday falls on the Monday.

Mr Woods said he was disappointed that the review did not take the opportunity to "modernise" laws and allow longer trading for hotels and bars on Sundays.

Bottle shops would be allowed to trade from 10am to 10pm on Sundays.

Racing and Gaming Minister Terry Waldron said the government would read the review in detail and meet with key stakeholders over its content.

Mr Woods said he expected the process of government consultation would take up to 18 months and hoped the parliament would listen to the community in considering the recommendations.


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