Serving alcohol in New South Wales isn’t as simple as just pouring a drink from a bottle into a glass, alcohol service — particularly responsible alcohol service — (RSA Online NSW). In NSW, as it does for the whole country, responsible alcohol service involves legislation and requires training and licensing of sellers, servers, and suppliers of alcohol.
There are a lot of steps taken before a single drop of alcohol is served to a patron — and with good reason.
While the responsible service of alcohol (or RSA for short) has been part of New South Wales’ liquor laws for over a century, the legislation has been updated since the Liquor Act 2007, where RSA guidelines are referenced. RSA deals with any alcohol related situations such as intoxicated minors (anyone under the age of 18), any alcohol-related violence and crime situations, any drunk and disorderly patrons, and any noise disturbances resulting from a person or persons’ intoxicated behaviour.
The responsible service of alcohol aims to limit at the very least the incipient harm that intoxicated behaviour can result in.
Some of the possible harm that results in inebriated behaviour includes drink driving, being rowdy or disorderly, offensive or inappropriate sexual advances, and self-harm such as vomiting or loss of coordination caused by excessive drinking. There can also be damages to property done by intoxicated people which can result in others being harmed in the process.
RSA, as per the Liquor Act 2007, is at its core the interpretation of the legislation that aims to curtail the possibility of harm or damage that results from intoxicated behaviour. Section 5 of the Liquor Act 2007 even provides a definition for what constitutes as an intoxicated person: someone whose speech, balance, coordination, or behaviours are noticeably affected, and for whom it is reasonable to believe that the displayed traits have been brought on by excessive drinking, given the circumstances the person is found in.
In line with this, it’s mandatory for any persons intending to work in the capacity of selling, serving, or supplying alcohol to have training in RSA. It’s a legal requirement in NSW to hold a valid RSA competency card or interim certificate for anyone who chooses to work in a setting that involves the service, sale, and supply of alcohol.
RSA training is provided nationally through approved Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). These RTOs offer RSA Online NSW courses – as well as face-to-face -. Students who complete their RSA training are issued an NSW RSA interim certificate, with which they may then apply for an NSW competency card.
The competency card has a limited lifespan of five years. Regardless of whether or not the person is new to the liquor industry or returning to it after five years, it’s a requirement that they must complete a full RSA Online course and obtain a certification.
There’s a bit of good news regarding RSA compliance as well. Beginning July 1st of 2018, anyone who has completed an RSA course in NSW will also be issued a National RSA Statement of Attainment that allows them to work interstate – this means that their competency becomes valid in other states, allowing them to work without retaking an RSA course (provided their competency card is within its validity period).
Alcohol intoxication is nothing to be laughed at and should be taken seriously. In NSW, the responsible service of alcohol takes necessary steps at addressing and minimising the potential risks that intoxicated behaviour may cause within a community.
Be part of the responsible service of alcohol in NSW today.