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February 14, 2017
Secondary supply is when you provide alcohol to a person aged under 18 years. It is now against the law to serve alcohol in a private home to anyone under 18, unless their parents have given permission. It remains illegal for bar staff or bottle shops to serve or sell alcohol to under 18’s.
Drinking is not safe for people under 18 years old. There have been a number of cases in Australia where a person has suffered injuries or died as a result of drinking too much alcohol after being supplied by an adult.
The brain is still developing up until your mid-20s. Drinking alcohol may damage a young brain and lead to health complications later in life.
The earlier a young person is introduced to alcohol, the more likely they are to develop problems with it later in life. Young people should therefore delay their first drink for as long as possible.
Secondary supply is the most common way that young people obtain alcohol. Almost 40% of underage drinkers get alcohol from their parents. The majority of minors obtain alcohol from a person who is not their parent, guardian or carer.1
Across Australia, a person who is under the age of 18 is not breaking the law if they drink alcohol on private property. Though, in most states and territories, the person who supplied them with the alcohol could be breaking the law – unless they are the child’s parent or guardian and act in a responsible manner. However, the young person’s parent or guardian can provide consent for the young person to consume alcohol at the private residence.
The following legal information is correct at the time of publication. For more information about the supply of alcohol to people aged under 18 years, contact the Legal Aid Commission in your state or territory.
In Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory it is illegal to supply people under the age of 18 with alcohol if responsible supervision is not provided.
Responsible supervision is generally determined by: