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Responsible Alcohol Service / RSA Courses



Pulling the beers behind the bar or working in a bottle shop is a great way to meet people and fund your travels. Your home country might adopt the "last man standing" responsible alcohol service policy where you can serve someone as long as they can slur out their order but Australia has some strict rules governing responsible alcohol service.

What is Responsible Service Of Alcohol / RSA?

RSA or Responsible Service of Alcohol is a short one day course that educates you on the laws of serving alcohol, to whom and how to tell if they have had too much. Anyone working behind a bar or where alcohol is sold needs to be aware of the laws. Serving someone who is deemed to have had "enough" cannot only land your employer in lots of trouble but also you personally! If you serve someone who is intoxicated and they then walk home and get hit by a bus you can face a hefty fine! If your involved in the sale of liquor you will need to be aware of responsible alcohol service.

Every State has their own slightly differing laws in relation to RSA. Also note that because a course in a particular state is labelled "Nationally accredited" it may still not be valid in other states.

Responsible Alcohol Service -Which State requires what?

Every state has it own requirements, some may accept the Nationally Accredited RSA course but other do not.

NSW - Persons must complete a face to face course (not online) that has been approved by the NSW liquor Administration Board (LAB) to work in the sale of alcohol. See NSW department of Gaming and Racing for more information.

ACT -  Licensed premises are encouraged / must ensure proper training for employees. For more information see Office of Regulatory Services

QLD - All new staff from the 1 Jan 2009 must complete the OLGR (office of liquor and Gaming regulation)  RSA approved course within 30 days of starting employment. See OLGR for more information.

VIC - RSA is needed for anyone working in a bottle shop or shop selling alcohol. In addition any license where it is a condition of the license that the bar staff be trained in RSA. This normally means any bar that is open after 1am and plays amplified music. For more info visit Department of Justice.

WA - For further information see the department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor

SA - In SA you need to apply to SA Liquor Licensing Commission that you are a responsible person. Part of this process will include you showing that you have completed you RSA. For further information see Office of the liquor and Gaming Commissioner

NT - See the Department of Justice

What does the course consist of ?

RSA is a half day course where you learn about local licensing law of alcohol service and how to adhere to responsible alcohol service. You may have worked behind bars or in shop selling alcohol in your home country but the laws differ Downunder. The course will explain the law, how alcohol can be served and to whom and covers all the basics of licensing. Following a series of talks by your lecturer you will then be required to sit a closed book exam the same day. Once completed and passed you will be sent a plastic photo card in the post from OLGR. This replaces the old paper style certificate as of the 22nd August 2011 but if you did the old style course it is still valid but are being fazed out over the next 5 years.

Who might need it?

Anyone working in a licensed premises, bar staff, security staff, glass collectors and wait staff, depending on which state you are to be working in. Some states, such as NSW it is a legal requirement.

What an exam???? I am here to have fun not study?

Yes afraid so! You will be required to answer a series of multiple choice questions about what you have learnt. Do not panic, provided you have not nodded off during the talks and understand what you have learnt you should be able to complete the exam with ease and receive your photo card a week or so later. If you struggle with the answers then you are normally given the option to re-sit the test after some more study. 

Where can I do the course and how much is it?

There are a number of providers who offer the course and located in major town and cities across Australia. The courses do vary in terms of their content and certain RSA courses are not valid in every state. When deciding on which course to do ensure that you look at where the certificate will be valid and whether they are  recognised as a authorised trainer. In NSW it is best to use a LAB approved course. Like anything do your research. Courses normally cost around $100 + and last a half day but you can find cheaper ones that may run less frequently. You will have to book in advance but can normally do the course within a few days. Many even offer a discount if you also complete your RCG at the same time. 

Will my employer pay for the course?

Potentially you can look for a job and then tell them that you need you RSA and ask them to pay. They can then book you onto a course and wait until you have qualified and then you can work for them....!!! In reality as many people already have the qualification and are applying for jobs turning up for or applying for a job without the RSA may simply make you less employable over other applicants so best to get it sorted before you apply. Most employers will not even let you set foot behind the bar until they have seen your certificate photo card.

Can I do the course online before I come to Australia?

There are some trainers that offer a self study online course and you can do the exam online also. These can be a great option if you want to do the course before you leave home but ensure that the online course meets the requirements of the state in which you are planning to work. Some online providers courses are not valid in every state, notably NSW and VIC depending on the venue, so make sure you read the small print before parting with you hard earned cash. In NSW you must attend a LAB approved face to face course. After all, it is often more fun to attend a day course as then you can meet some new people, maybe make some contacts and also go out and celebrate with a drink after you have finished the exam! (drinking responsibly of course!!)

You may also need your RCG if working in certain premises

You may also be interested in
RCG Courses
Bar Skills Course
Barista Course

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