UNDERAGE people caught drinking in Bathurst pubs and clubs will banned from all local venues until their 19th birthday under new rules adopted by the Bathurst Liquor Accord.
The pubs ban, aimed at cracking down on underage drinking in Bathurst, will run alongside the liquor accord’s multi-venue barring policy that has been in operation for the past 12 months.
Under that policy, patrons who are barred from one local venue for committing an assault, malicious damage, theft, drug offences and violent, threatening or aggressive behaviour will find themselves barred from all liquor accord venues.
Bathurst Liquor Accord secretary Rebecca Mathie said the barring policy was not because there was a massive issue at licensed venues but to show a vigorous care for the community.
“This is to make sure the community knows we’re not standing for inappropriate behaviour and it’s an initiative to reduce incidents at licensed venues,” she said.
“We’re trying to be proactive. There are 11 people on the barred list – one for underage drinking and the others for different offences.”
More than 50 venues across the city – almost 90 per cent – are members of the Bathurst Liquor Accord, including pubs, clubs, bottle shops and restaurants.
There are major consequences for venues caught with underage drinkers inside, with fines up to $50,000 issued to the venue.
Ms Mathie said underage drinking was an issue that was facing licensed venues across Bathurst.
“Their fake IDs are getting better and they’re finding new ways to enter licensed venues, like jumping fences,” she said.
“It’s all about maintaining our duty of care. They just don’t have the life experience and knowledge to handle difficult situations when they’re out [drinking alcohol].
“We’re trying to encourage the younger kids to wait until they’re 18.
“I don’t know what the obsession is with going at 16 and a half. It’s something you can actually wait for and enjoy when you hit that milestone.
“It’s just not worth getting banned for 12 months.”