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Neighbourhood noise

Neighbourhood noise is a frequent cause of complaints to Council.

What may be considered a noise nuisance to one person may be perfectly acceptable to the next.

Noise generated from amplified music, air conditioners, power tools and pool pumps should not be a nuisance to others. People can become extremely upset by noise they have no control over resulting in stress, fatigue and heightened sensitivity.

Council, the Police and the Local Court are able to deal with neighbourhood disputes that arise from noise nuisances using the Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2017.

Building noise

Construction noise may be considered a nuisance by neighbours. Contractors must carry out the construction works in accordance with their conditions of consent.  If you are concerned that work is being conducted outside of the conditions of consent, you can contact Council's Customer Service section to make a complaint on 4645 4000.

When can noise be restricted?

The regulation sets out restricted times when power tools and equipment from residential premises should not be used if they can be heard in a neighbour's home.

These hours of restriction can help you decide which action to take:

Type of noise Restricted hours Contact
Power tools and equipment, powered garden tools, including:
  • lawn mowers
  • leaf blowers
  • electrical or pneumatic tools
  • chainsaws or circular saws
  • gas or air compressors
  • swimming pool or spa pumps
  • Weekdays and Saturdays: 8pm to 7am
  • Sundays and Public Holidays: 8pm to 8am

Council on 02 4645 4000
or Police on 131 444

Musical instruments and sound equipment, including:
  • radios
  • televisions
  • sound reproduction equipment
  • public address systems
  • computer games
  • amplifiers
  • Friday, Saturday or day immediately before a Public Holiday: 12 midnight to 8am
  • Any other day: 10pm to 8am

Council on 02 4645 4000
or Police on 131 444

Domestic air-conditioners
  • Weekdays: 10pm to 7am
  • Weekends and public holidays: 10pm to 8am
Council on 02 4645 4000

Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises)
It is an offence for the sound system of a motor vehicle to emit offensive noise.

  • Weekdays: 8pm to 7am
  • Weekends: 8pm to 8am

Council on 02 4645 4000
or Police on 131 444

Refrigeration units fitted to motor vehicles
  • Weekdays: 8pm to 7am
  • Weekends and Public Holidays: 8pm to 8am

Council on 02 4645 4000
or Police on 131 444

What can I do if neighbourhood noise is a problem?

There are a number of options you can take:

  • Try to solve the problem amicably by talking it over with whoever is causing the noise - they may not realise they are causing a problem and may be happy to do what they can to help.
  • If this approach is unsuccessful and where noise is a recurrent problem, you should contact the Community Justice Centre (CJC). The CJC is a government-funded, independent centre that specialises in settling differences between neighbours through mediation without getting into complicated legal processes.

What formal action can I take for continual noise problems?

Lodge a complaint with Council

Where we are satisfied there’s evidence of an ongoing noise nuisance, we are able to issue a notice under section 264 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act 1997 on the occupier of premises.

This requires measures to be taken to control noise from a wide range of domestic sources including:

  • air-conditioners
  • swimming pool pumps
  • radios
  • sound reproduction equipment
  • musical instruments
  • power tools
  • lawnmowers
  • burglar alarms
  • animals

The notice can require the noise-making activities to be restricted to certain times of the day or certain days. Failure to comply with the notice can lead to prosecution.

Where a noise nuisance is occurring outside of Council's operating hours, you should contact the local Police.

Seek a noise abatement order

Under section 268 of the POEO Act, if you are affected by offensive noise, you can make a complaint to a Justice of the Peace. The Justice may summon the person alleged to be making the noise to appear before the Local Court. If the court is satisfied that there is offensive noise or that it is likely to recur, it may order the person to stop the noise or prevent a recurrence. Failure to comply with the order could lead to prosecution.

If you decide on this course of action, we suggest you speak to your legal adviser or make an appointment to see the Chamber Magistrate at the Local Court in the district where the noisy premises are located.

Contact your local Police

In cases where noises occur after hours or if you are excessively disturbed by particular noise incidents (like noisy parties), you may contact the police who can use section 276 of the POEO Act to direct a person making the offensive noise to stop.

A Noise Abatement Direction may be issued verbally, at any time of the day or night and can remain in force for up to 28 days from the time it is issued. Any person who fails to comply with such a direction may be issued with an on-the-spot fine.

Contact: Police enquiries hotline - 131 444.

Where can I find out more?

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