Alcohol and community sport


The Department of Sport and Recreation requires State Sporting Associations (SSAs) and community sporting clubs to responsibly manage and reduce the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol in the sport and recreation setting.

The Department recognises the vulnerability of young people, less than 18 years of age, to alcohol-caused harm and advocates measures that lessen the risk, such as:

  • No consumption of alcohol at junior sports;
  • Not overtly promoting alcohol in venues where young people participate;
  • Educating youth as to the risks of alcohol to health and performance; and
  • Following the legal requirements for the responsible service of alcohol.

The Department opposes the direct targeting of young people in the marketing of alcohol products.


Sports and sports clubs present many physical, mental, and emotional benefits to participants. They are also sources of social capital, which have been proven to be an agent for positive change in an individual’s life and outlook. In the vast majority of our grass-roots, community sports clubs, alcohol is either not present or managed responsibly when it is.

The Department recognises the potential harm caused by the inappropriate supply and consumption of alcoholic beverages within the sport and recreation setting. The Department advocates the responsible service and consumption of alcohol and seeks cultural change in clubs that do not demonstrate that discipline.

Key principles

  • Facilitating physical activity and participation through sport and recreation is the primary objective of DSR.
  • Community attitudes are positively influenced by working through sports clubs and associations.
  • Real community change will only occur through the engagement of all stakeholders in true partnership.
  • Children are protected.
  • Adults are informed and encouraged to adopt safe practices.
  • Compliance with the law is fundamental.
  • Sport and recreation organisations encourage safe practices.



The Department advocates a behaviour change approach to implement an alcohol-caused harm minimisation strategy driven through Western Australia's sporting networks.

There is no single sports culture. The Department supports over 90 sporting codes. Each code and each club within it is unique. The club is a complex and diverse social ecosystem that cannot be reduced to a single stereotype. Tackling irresponsible consumption of alcohol — wherever it may be —with more highly targeted and customised policies and programs is required.

The Department supports the following positions:

  • Alcohol consumption is likely to be detrimental to sporting performance;
  • Alcohol consumption after exercise can lead to poor recovery and slow repair of injuries;
  • Alcohol is served and consumed within sporting clubs in full compliance with the Liquor Control Act 1988 (WA); and
  • Alcohol is promoted responsibly within sporting clubs.


The Department advocates for the awareness of the risks associated with consuming alcohol.

The Department, in partnership with WA Sports Federation, is partnering with SSAs across WA to introduce planning and education tools which promote a positive club culture and tackle the broader issue of alcohol misuse in society. The Changing Attitudes to Alcohol through Sport program includes access to the Top Club Planning Tool for over 500 clubs that serve alcohol on their premises. The sport setting has a positive impact on the overall health and wellbeing of community members. It's a great vehicle to promote positive culture change.

Top Club seeks to enhance club culture through strong and effective leadership, a consultative decision-making process to achieve buy-in, agreement of standards and consistent practice of the behaviours. The alcohol behaviours are embedded into the overall behaviours adopted by the club. By embedding the desired behaviours relating to alcohol management, the club members will adopt these behaviours over the long term. Through this process Top Club seeks to change individual attitudes and club culture through leadership initiated positive club experiences. This approach is based on contemporary management practices.


The Liquor Control Act 1988 (WA) regulates the sale, supply and consumption of liquor with the express purpose of minimizing harm or ill-health caused to people due to the drinking of alcohol.

To complement the Top Club Planning Tool, Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor representatives deliver Liquor Licence Refresher workshops across the State where identified as a need by the sport and recreation network.



Senior Policy Officer
Department of Sport and Recreation
Telephone 08 9492 9700


01 February 2015


01 February 2017