Alcohol laws in Australia
Alcohol laws help to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol on individuals, families and communities. Some laws, such as the legal drinking age, are the same across Australia. Other laws, such as where you can drink, are different in each state and territory.
Why do we have alcohol laws?
Alcohol laws help to protect you and the community from the harmful effects of alcohol.
Laws that apply anywhere in Australia
- Drink driving — you’re breaking the law if you drive and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 0.05. If you’re on a learners or provisional licence, your BAC must be zero.
- Legal drinking age — you must be 18 or older to buy alcohol or to drink alcohol in a licensed venue.
- Selling alcohol — it’s illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under 18 or to someone who is already drunk.
- Labelling — all packaged alcohol must show how many standard drinks it contains.
- Where you can drink — there are some areas where you can’t drink alcohol. Check your state or territory below for more information about alcohol restrictions.
Laws that are different in each state and territory
Some alcohol laws are different depending on the state or territory you’re in.
Secondary supply means the supply of alcohol to young people under 18.
In some states and territories, it’s legal to supply alcohol if you have approval from a child’s parent or guardian. In others, it’s only legal if you’re the parent or guardian.
The laws on alcohol restrictions are different for each state and territory:
- Australian Capital Territory — permanent alcohol-free places (legislation)
- New South Wales — Sydney alcohol restrictions (for other areas, find the council it’s in and go to their website)
- Northern Territory — where you can’t drink in the NT and about dry areas
- Queensland — community alcohol restrictions
- South Australia — dry areas
- Tasmania — consumption of alcohol in Hobart and tourist tips
- Victoria — Melbourne city alcohol bans (for other areas, find the council it’s in and go to their website)
- Western Australia — alcohol and the law
Find out more
Find out more about alcohol laws in your state or territory:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia