Anti-Discrimination NSW

Alcohol-free zones

What is an alcohol-free zone?

An alcohol-free zone is an area where drinking alcohol is prohibited, established by a local council. Alcohol-free zones can only include public places such as roads or car parks on public or Crown land. They cannot include car parks that are on private land and not under the control of the council.

Alcohol-free zones enable the safe use of these roads, footpaths and car parks without interference from street drinkers. They should primarily be near outlets supplying alcohol where drinkers congregate. A zoning that is not near an alcohol outlet should only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Who can apply for an alcohol-free zone?

A person living or working in the area, the local police or a local community group can ask a council to establish an alcohol-free zone, or a council itself may decide to do so. An alcohol-free zone can also be established specifically for a special event.

A proposal to establish an alcohol-free zone must be supported by evidence that the public's use of the relevant roads or car parks has been compromised by street drinkers. For example, there could be incidents of malicious damage to property, littering or offensive behaviour.

Who do councils need to consult before making a decision about an alcohol-free zone?

Councils must follow the Ministerial Guidelines on Alcohol-Free Zones, including consulting with local Aboriginal or culturally and linguistically diverse groups in their area about proposals to establish alcohol-free zones. The guidelines require certain councils to also send a copy of the proposal to us. Councils not listed in the guidelines may choose to advise us of their proposals, but are not required to do so.

What information does Anti-Discrimination NSW require?

Certain councils listed in the Ministerial Guidelines on Alcohol-Free Sones must send a copy of their proposal to us. The following information is required:

  • the proposal for the zone
  • a map showing the proposed zone and any liquor outlets
  • the names, addresses and phone numbers of Aboriginal or culturally and linguistically diverse groups who have been consulted about the proposal
  • a statement of the reasons supporting the proposal.

We will assess the proposal and check whether there is likely to be any discriminatory impact on Aboriginal or other cultural groups in the area. We will provide advice to the council which must be taken into account when the final decision on the zone is made.

More information

For more information about alcohol-free zones, please contact our enquiry service.