The Evolution of NSW Liquor Laws and Responsible Service of Alcohol – Part I

Responsible Service of AlcoholWhile the majority of people consume alcohol responsibly, Governments have always recognised the negative impact that alcohol can have on the community. As a result, the sale and supply of liquor is appropriately controlled, and sanctions apply where licensed venues are poorly run and irresponsible liquor serving occurs – such as intoxication (i.e. drunkenness) and minors obtaining liquor.

Responsible service of alcohol has been part of the State’s liquor laws for nearly 100 years. Responsible service is not new.

For example in the 1912 Liquor Act, a licensee was prohibited from permitting drunkenness on the licensed premises, and the onus was on the licensee and employees to establish that they took all reasonable steps to prevent the drunkenness. This requirement remains an important element of current NSW liquor laws.

Until the 1970s, registered clubs were regulated under the Liquor Act 1912. In 1976, the Registered Clubs Act was introduced in response to community concerns about the management of clubs and the inappropriate use of members’ property. The Registered Clubs Act commenced on 1 July 1978. The Act contains an extensive range of controls applying to the management of registered clubs, and the sale and supply of liquor on club premises.

Since the Liquor Act 1982 and the Registered Clubs Act 1976 were introduced, there have been many significant amendments made in response to changing community attitudes and Government policy regarding the sale and supply of alcohol.