Six month ban for underage drinkers once they turn 18

UNDERAGE drinkers caught flouting the drinking laws in and around Sale will now be banned from entering licensed premises for six months after the date of their 18th birthdays.

The move comes as Wellington Liquor Accord members get tough on anti-social behaviour and underage drinking.

Acting Sergeant Dave Allen from Sale police, who is the Victoria Police representative on the Wellington Liquor Accord, said the decision was made by the accord after “a recent influx” of underage people found on licensed premises.

He said the move would have more of an effect on those attending liquor establishments, as it increased the previous three-month ban.

Currently 25 premises are part of the Wellington Liquor Accord, including pubs, supermarket outlets and sporting clubs.

Apart from the ban extension, Acting Sergeant Allen said there were other penalties that could be imposed for attending Wellington Liquor Accordpremises.

He said members of the  public who committed offences or behaved poorly could be banned from attending licensed premises for up to two years and, in more serious matters, indefinitely.

The Wellington Liquor Accord will also be introducing initiatives and counselling services for people needing help in relation to alcohol and drug abuse and anger management.

Meanwhile, the Alcohol Policy Coalition has welcomed the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation’s action to ban Facebook posts by a Victorian alcohol retailer urging young people to stock up on cheap booze and to lose their dignity drinking.

The ruling follows a complaint made by the Alcohol Policy Coalition to the commission about a series of “irresponsible” Facebook posts targeting young drinkers by the retailer.

Alcohol Policy Coalition spokesperson Sarah Jackson said the retailer had been able to flout the rules around irresponsible liquor advertising, strategically using social media to promote its products.

“They know that they can get away with these irresponsible and harmful promotions on social media, which is much harder to monitor and has greater followings with the young and vulnerable groups they are trying to target,” she said.

“While we are pleased to see attention now being turned to irresponsible promotions by liquor stores, we want to see stronger action on this type of advertising to protect young people from the harmful impact of the promotions.

“We want the Victorian government to make it an offence for any liquor licensee to irresponsibly promote alcohol, with penalties that act as an effective deterrent.”

The banning notice means the retailer will be forced to withdraw the Facebook posts, or be liable for a penalty of up to $19,000.

The recent release of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code’s third quarterly report for 2018 also exposed a trend among independent brewers to target young drinkers.

Independent chair of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code, Harry Jenkins, said this quarter there were two breaches of the code by independent breweries.

One breach was for Instagram posts with strong sexual innuendo and the other related to packaging that could be confused with a soft drink.

Mr Jenkins said the breaches followed others from earlier this year that included a social media post that showed a person aged under 25 skateboarding which was found to have strong appeal to minors, and a point-of-sale promotion featuring an inflatable palm tree display and a Frisbee giveaway which was found to have strong appeal to minors.