Because the Government regulates liquor sale and supply, there is an onus on those who are responsible for the retailing of alcohol to do so responsibly by providing a safe and enjoyable environment for patrons. That onus also means serving liquor to ensure that patrons do not become drunk and subsequently a problem for management, staff and the community. When poor patron behaviour is left unchecked, it has the potential to escalate and can manifest into serious crime, including brawls, affray, sexual assaults and property damage.
In recent years, considerable research has been undertaken in New South Wales by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and others to identify the link between irresponsible serving practices and liquor abuse problems. A summary of this research is contained in Schedule A for reference purposes.
More than 16,000 venues are licensed to sell liquor in New South Wales, making it readily available and enjoyed by many.
People who drink regularly at higher levels place themselves at substantially increased risk of chronic ill health and premature death, while an episode of heavy drinking places the drinker and others at increased risk of injury and death. For some, particularly among younger age groups, such drinking can form part of a wider pattern of risk-taking behaviour.
While health is an important issue, the use of liquor, particularly when it is abused and misused, is associated with crime, violence, anti-social and offensive behaviour. You don’t have to drink to experience the harm that can be associated with liquor – assaults, road accidents, property damage and excessive noise can all seriously affect the lives of individuals and the community.
Therefore, governments place restrictions on the age at which liquor can be legally purchased and consumed, and determine the controls over liquor such as how, when, where and to who liquor can be sold and supplied. In essence: responsible service of alcohol.