Responsible Service of Alcohol
Getting drunk and drunken behaviour is viewed to be a common and sometimes expected part of the drinking experience in Western Australia. Changing community acceptance of drunkenness and the problems that go with it is one of the most important parts of creating a less harmful drinking culture.
Creating support and expectations for licensed settings that encourage sensible drinking through the responsible service of alcohol is one strategy to assist in reducing alcohol-related problems on and off licensed premises.
In Western Australia, there are laws in relation to serving alcohol. A licensee, manager or employee (whether in paid employment or as a volunteer) are required to comply with these laws:
- It is an offence to permit drunkenness on the premises.
- It is an offence to serve alcohol to drunk people.
- It is an offence to serve alcohol to anyone under 18 years-of-age.
- It is an offence to allow people who are violent, quarrelsome, disorderly or behaving indecently on licensed premises 1.
Responsible service laws help to reduce the likelihood that others will cause problems for you, your friends or your family.
How can I support responsible service of alcohol?
- Understand that bar staff have legal responsibilities to refuse service to those that appear to be drunk.
- If working behind a bar (whether paid or as a volunteer), ensure that you adhere to the laws in relation to responsible service of alcohol.
- Ensure that you do not obtain or attempt to obtain alcohol for consumption by a drunken person as this is an offence under the Liquor Control Act.
- Refuse to help a drunken person in obtaining or consuming alcohol as doing this is an offence under the Liquor Control Act.
- Understand that in addition to the standard responsible service laws, each licensed venue has its own characteristics and may have additional legal requirements or restrictions with regard to the sale of alcohol.
- Look after your friends. If they seem to be getting drunk get them to slow their drinking and offer them non-alcoholic drinks. Remember this would assist in preventing them from being removed from a venue for drunkenness or being refused entry.
Commonly asked questions
Can I be refused entry to a licensed premise or service of alcohol if I appear to be drunk?
Answer: Yes. If your speech, balance, coordination or behaviour is noticeably impaired it is reasonable for bar staff to believe that you are drunk and as such are supported by the law to refuse entry or service.
Is it an offence for bar staff to serve alcohol to me when I appear to be drunk?
Answer: Yes. It is an offence to sell or supply alcohol to a drunken person on licensed or regulated premises.
Isn’t it the individual‘s responsibility to stop drinking rather than it being up to the bar staff to refuse them service?
Answer: Alcohol is a drug that affects the central nervous system and brain function. Consuming alcohol can affect the drinker’s ability to think rationally and to reasonably deal with situations or their environment. Bar staff have a legal responsibility to refuse service of alcohol to people who are drunk.
Responsible Service of Alcohol Posters
A selection of posters has been developed for retailers. Select and download the posters which are relevant to your environment, from our Resources section.
Drug and Alcohol Office – Alcohol and the Law factsheet.
Page last updated: 20 July 2020