Children working or employed in licensed premises

Children are not permitted to possess, sell, serve or supply liquor in licensed premises without the permission of the Director Liquor Licensing.

A child is a person who is under the age of 18.

If you are a licensee in the Northern Territory (NT), you can apply for permission to employ children under exceptional cases.

Children under 15 years can't be employed in any capacity in the NT.

Under 16 years and 8 months

Permission may be granted by the director only in exceptional circumstances.

Significant consultation and limitations would apply.

Over 16 years 8 months

The director may give permission to a licensee for:

  • an existing employee, or
  • someone undergoing employment training.

Bar or servery duties can include:

  • preparation and sale of drinks, such as pouring a beer or mixing a drink
  • sale of pre-packaged liquor products - takeaway
  • wait service of liquor
  • placing orders to purchase liquor on behalf of the licensee
  • unloading deliveries of liquor to the licensee and stocking of fridges.

The child must also hold a current responsible service of alcohol (RSA) certificate. Read how to serve alcohol responsibly.

Operation of gaming machines

Under the Liquor Act 2019, any permission granted by the director doesn't include gaming machines.

Under no circumstances can you employ a child for this.

You don't need permission to employ a child on licenced premises if their duties are:

  • unloading and storage of deliveries of stock (not including liquor) to the licensee
  • re-stocking store rooms and refrigerators with non-liquor related stock
  • delivery of food orders
  • delivery of non-liquor related drinks
  • clearing of tables, including empty drink containers
  • general cleaning, maintenance and administrative duties.

You can apply for approval from the Director of Liquor Licensing by emailing

Make sure you include details and evidence of required conditions.

All of the following will be considered when your application is evaluated:

  • parent or guardian approval, where appropriate
  • the child's age and maturity
  • the size, nature and location of the licensed premises
  • the nature of tasks to be performed
  • the quality of induction training
  • whether you have provided responsible service of alcohol training
  • the quality and level of adult supervision
  • any ongoing accredited hospitality training
  • whether the child is a genuine employee
  • whether you have any areas of your licenced premises prohibited to children, including gaming machines.

Last updated: 18 February 2022

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