04 Jun - GrogWatch Secondary Supply

What 18 year olds need to know

We all know that secondary supply is one way that young people obtain alcohol. Almost 40 per cent of underage drinkers get alcohol from their parents, and only 5 per cent buy it themselves. So a good deal (55 per cent) of underage drinking occurs when young people get alcohol from people who are not their parent, guardian or carer. One likely source is friends or older siblings who have recently turned 18. There is a risk these people don’t understand they are breaking the law.

Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and Tasmania all have secondary supply legislation – NSW is currently reviewing their law. Western Australia, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have yet to introduce this law. Western Australia is currently reviewing their liquor act – you will know from reading this blog that we are lobbying for it to include secondary supply legislation.

Although the legislation exists in most states and territories, there has not been much advertising of it. In most cases where it has occurred the education has targeted parents. Yet young people who supply alcohol to their peers are also liable under the legislation. So do young people, especially those around 18 who have younger friends, understand the legal situation?

Picture this…..  My son, who has recently turned 18, has friends over, some of who are 17 or under, and he offers them a beer. My son has just broken the law in some places in Australia as he did not have the permission of his friends’ parents. From my son’s point of view, he has acted as a good mate, as a good host. Yet he has broken the law and could be fined severely.

Parents have told us that this is a common scenario and that promotion and advertising of secondary supply laws in each state is needed and it must be directed to young people. How is it possible to overcome the natural inclination of young adults to be a mate and supply alcohol to their younger friends?

GrogWatch wants to know what you think is the best way to inform young people, particularly those about to turn 18, of their legal requirements around alcohol.