I’m concerned at the growing number of licensed venues being used for teen parties. They raise issues parents need to know.
Venues see teen events as easy money, but rarely convey the legal implications to parents.
Two weeks ago, another gatecrasher horror story hit the media.
A venue is liable for the event it hosts. It risks massive penalties for breaching liquor laws.
I recently handled a 16th birthday at a tennis club. There were huge problems with 16 and 17 year olds accessing alcohol via friends.
Had Police or Commission for Gambling & Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) Compliance Inspectors turned up, the party would’ve instantly been shut down.
A disaster for the birthday girl.
These authorities often go undercover to do random venue checks. So you never know when they’re going to pop up.
I spoke with Police about my tennis club drama.
They said it wasn’t something I should worry about, as it related to the venue.
This didn’t sound right to me.
If I’m asked to send my staff to control a teen event, I research the venue ahead of time for my client to see if it’s suitable and safe.
So I called VCGLR and found that my suspicions were correct.
Most licensed venues wishing to host teen parties require a specific limited licence to do so.
If a tennis or bowling club has a club licence, only a member of the club (or their relative) can host a party. On the day, every person attending must be signed in by the member.
You also need a ratio of one responsible adult for every ten underage teens to ensure they don’t drink.
Football clubs have a different type of licence that permits underage kids at the venue until a set time (e.g. 11 pm) after which they must leave. This applies to awards nights and parties.
If a licensed cafe hosts your party, the above ratio of adults to teens applies. Parents MUST supervise all guests and ensure no underage alcohol consumption occurs.
Better safe than sorry
As you can see, it’s complicated.
In short, if you want to host a teen party at a sporting club, cafe or anywhere else with a liquor licence, you should contact VCGLR (or the relevant liquor licensing commission in your state) for accurate information.
While you’re at it, get them to email the info in writing, so you have all the details of your enquiry. You may need it.
The best way to avoid this tangled web is to use venues that don’t have a liquor licence.
Unfortunately, with teen parties, this leaves only private homes and limited public venues like halls.
If you’re a parent seeking a practical way to handle alcohol at teen parties, drop me a line and I’ll send you information about our ‘booze bag’.
It’s a proven method that can be used anywhere kids bring booze.
Naomi Oakley, Founder, Safe Partying Australia.