Raising the minimum drinking age in Australia from 18 to 21

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Alcohol is the catalyst for a majority of incidents in New South Wales and is in need of an urgent change. These incidents include driving accidents, assaults, and diseases, all caused by alcohol. The current legal drinking age on licensed premises is 18, defined as a minor in the Liquor Act 2007  which operates within the State Government of New South Wales. In an attempt to address alcohol-related issues, the New South Wales State Government issued the Liquor Amendment Act 2014 which enforces a 1.30am lockout and 3 am last drinks policy. It also prohibits the distribution of take away sales of alcohol after 10 pm. Despite these reforms in laws, alcohol is still a major issue.


The first change to the law would be to reform the Liquor Act so that only people aged 21 and over can drink on licensed premises and purchase take away alcohol. Since most of the people consuming alcohol on levels that were unsafe for health in the long term were younger, stripping them of alcohol will prevent them from further damaging their body in the future. Most assaults were also performed by people of age 15-29. While it would be unrealistic to raise the alcohol age limit to 29, bringing the legal age up to 21 could eliminate a range of incidents being caused by younger people under the influence of alcohol. Limiting the alcohol consumption legal age would also lower the number of crashes drastically since young people make up a third of fatal alcohol-attributable car accidents.


The first stakeholders of the reform to the law would be business owners. Businesses which serve alcohol will most likely have a negative opinion on the limits happening to the age of which customers can drink as there will be the loss of customers. This will mean that these businesses will be making less money. The reaction will most likely be similar to when the lockout laws were first introduced. Ron Creevey, when asked about the lockout laws, said, “But there's no logical reason to penalise bar owners in a certain geographical area because of something that happened.” However, even if they are losing money, the loss will not be too large as the people who go out to drink are most likely aged in their 20’s . The change is also for the better good of the public and overshadows the need for profits.
Another stakeholder will be the public. With more restrictions to alcohol consumption, public security will be safer, and people will be more comfortable knowing that they are safer from alcohol-related attacks. The public will most likely support these changes and have a positive perspective on the reform. This is also supported by previous public opinion on alcohol reform and restrictions. This is good as the law is aiming to provide a safer community where fewer people are being hurt through alcohol-related incidents such as assaults and car accidents.
The third key stakeholders will be the people being restricted to alcohol through these changes. These people will most likely be outraged as they are no longer getting to drink any alcoholic beverages. There may well be protests similar to those of the “unlock Sydney” campaign regarding the lockout laws. However, there will be redeeming qualities of the changes for 16-18 and 60+ year-olds. While older people will know it’s for the benefit of their own health, the young people will be able to drink again once they are 21. While there still will be outrage, it won’t be as bad as the lockout law protests.



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