THERE is some merit in an Australian Hotels Association proposal to get tough on underage drinkers.
Firstly, the submission the hotels body has made to the NSW government has been made for all the right reasons.
Pubs don’t want underage drinkers in their establishments or bottle shops and placing an onus on the law breakers is a good move.
Up to know the rules and regulations have been a little one sided.
Pubs and clubs face significant fines if kids under the legal drinking age purchase or consume alcohol on or from their premises.
While we must have laws to deter those who are considered too young to make sensible decisions about alcohol, it’s wrong that the onus rests with the publicans and their staff.
The Australian Hotels Association wants the current laws to be amended so “kids know there is a punishment” for doing the wrong thing.
The law breakers should feel the full force of the law, not just those serving behind the bar or the bottle shop counter.
While the staff at most hotels are vigilant, young people on a mission often equip themselves with false IDs and are expert innovators in their attempt to get what they want.
A fine of $1000 is a lot of money for a teenager to pay, even if they have some form of employment.
Forcing that fine onto parents is unreasonable.
In most cases parents expect their children will do the right thing and indiscretions often come as an unwelcome surprise.
It is right the kids should pay, but a better option is community service rather than a cash fine.
Having to dedicate some or all of their weekend to community work such as graffiti removal or gardening provides the community with a benefit.
It also teaches the law breakers a valuable lesson and gives them a taste of what lies ahead for those who disregard the law.