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Alcohol

We don't give advice about this area of law

The information below may help you to resolve your matter or find out who else can help. 

Changes to this area of law
There have recently been changes to this area of law. We are working to review the information on this page and how these changes may affect you.  Contact us to get help.

There are laws in Queensland about when you can:

  • enter a licensed premises
  • buy alcohol
  • consume alcohol

If you’re charged with an alcohol-related offence—get legal advice.

Entering licensed premises

If you’re under 18 it’s generally against the law for you to enter licensed premises. This includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • a pub
  • a bar
  • a football club
  • an RSL club.

There are some exceptions depending on your situation—including:

  • if you live there
  • if you work there (eg work experience or job training)
  • if you’re eating a meal on the premises, or you’re with a responsible adult (over 18) who is supervising you (but not if it’s after 5pm and the premises are being used for cabaret entertainment)
  • if you’re going to a function (eg a wedding or birthday party)
  • if the premises has a club licence and your being there doesn’t break any of their rules or licence conditions.

If you’re under 18, you’re not allowed to be in an area of a licensed premise where there is adult entertainment or sexually explicit acts taking place.

Buying and consuming alcohol in a licensed premises

If you’re under 18, it’s illegal to buy, drink or have alcohol with you in a licensed premise.
It’s also illegal for a person on a licensed premises (or on a street or place next to the licensed premises) to sell, supply or give you alcohol.

This includes asking an adult to buy alcohol for you. An adult isn’t allowed to send you to licensed premises to buy alcohol for them.

In certain situations a licensee, employee or agent of a licensee may refuse to serve you alcohol because you are unduly intoxicated (ie drunk) or under 18. For more information see—refusal of service, exclusions and bag-checks.

What identification do I need to be on licensed premises?

A licensee, an employee or agent of a licensee may ask you to show proof of your age if they suspect (on reasonable grounds) that you’re under 18.

There are 3 forms of identification that are acceptable as proof of age. These are:

  • driver licence
  • a proof of age card issued by a government department or approved entity (eg Card 18+) or
  • an Australian or foreign passport.

It’s illegal to pretend you’re 18—including pretending to get a proof of age document that says you are 18 and over. It’s also illegal to show a false document as proof of your age. Any false document will be taken from you and given to an investigator.

When can I have alcohol in a public place?

If you’re under 18, it’s illegal to have alcohol with you or to drink it in a public place. It’s also illegal for a person to supply alcohol to you in a public place. You can be charged with being intoxicated (ie drunk) in a public place at any age.

Dry areas

Certain areas in Queensland have alcohol restrictions which ban or limit the amount and type of alcohol which can be taken into a community. For more information about alcohol restrictions visit the Queensland Government website.

A ‘dry house’ is a house where no alcohol is allowed. Dry place declarations are available in all discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as well as Mossman Gorge and Coen. This includes communities with a zero alcohol carriage limit. Fines may apply. For more information visit the Queensland Government website.  

Wet areas

If you’re under 18, a person can give you alcohol in a public place designated by the local government as a ‘wet area’—if you’re being supervised by a responsible adult (eg a parent, step-parent or guardian).
'Wet' areas are places approved by your local Council to allow the consumption of alcohol in a public place—usually for special occasions such as a wedding in the park.

A local council may choose a certain public place as a 'wet area' on an ongoing basis and nominate specific days and times when alcohol can be consumed. There are very few council approved 'wet areas' in Queensland. Usually permission is granted for a festival or one-off occasion rather than a permanent 'wet' approval.

Drinking in a private home

There are no laws that make it an offence for a person under 18 to drink alcohol in a private home.

Acknowledgement—Prepared using fact sheets which are copyright to Lawstuff by the National Children's and Youth Law Centre.

 Do I need legal advice?

You may need legal advice if you:

  • have been charged with an alcohol-related offence or another type of offence, including pretending to be 18 or producing a false document as proof of your age.

How to get legal advice

We may give legal advice about dealing with the police, courts, and getting charged with a criminal offence, including alcohol-related offences.

The following organisations may also be able to give legal advice:

Youth Advocacy Centre has a community legal and social welfare service for young people under 17.

Lawmail gives free legal advice by email to young people under 18.

YFS Legal gives legal information and advice to young people under 25.

Community legal centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to find out if they can help.

Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.

Who else can help?

These organisations may also be able to help. They don’t give legal advice.

Kids Helpline has a free and confidential telephone, online and email counselling service for children aged 5 to 18 years. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hot House has a free and confidential alcohol and drug counselling service for people under 25.  

Queensland Police investigates complaints about criminal offences.

Queensland Courts gives information about the courts including (but not limited to):

  • Supreme Court
  • Court of Appeal
  • District Court
  • Magistrates Court
  • Coroners Court
  • Childrens Court of Queensland
  • Land Court.
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