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Pollution Info - Noise

Complaints and noise assessment


If you are affected by noise, talk to the person responsible and try to achieve a solution that will satisfy everyone. Agreeing on the hours of use, alternative locations for the activity or the equipment used are some examples of topics you can discuss. Give them time to put the measures in place.

If you can’t reach a solution, you can lodge a complaint with Council. Alternatively, you can contact the Dispute Resolution Centre.


How to lodge a complaint with Council

To lodge a complaint with Council, you will need to provide:

  • your name, address and phone number – this is kept confidential
  • details of the noise
    • source address
    • date and time it starts
    • the duration each time it happens.

To help you keep track of the details, it is a good idea to fill out a daily log that you can submit with your complaint. You can download the example noise diary.


How Council handles complaints

Council investigates most noise complaints using the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

Some places or sites have a development approval with conditions relating to noise. In these cases, Council investigates the complaint using the Planning Act 2016.

When investigating noise complaints, Council may consider:  

  • whether the problem noise has a permitted noise level
  • whether there is development approval with noise conditions
  • how often the noise is a problem and how loud it is
  • the duration and time of the noise and characteristics and qualities
  • the sensitivity of the environment and the impacts
  • the views of any other neighbours and complainants
  • if the person causing the noise has taken or could take any measures to reduce the noise
  • if there is vibration.


If the noise is unlawful, Council may:

  • issue a notice. This will detail the offence and by when the responsible person has to resolve the problem. If the person does not comply with the notice, a fine of 15 penalty units (individual) or 75 penalty units (corporation) may also be issued.
  • issue a fine of 15 penalty units (individual) or 75 penalty units (corporation)
  • prosecute.


Development approval

If there is a development approval for the site, with a condition about noise, Council may issue a show cause notice or an enforcement notice requesting action to be taken.

If the person or company does not comply with an enforcement notice, a fine of 20 penalty units (individual) or 100 penalty units (corporation) may be issued or Council can prosecute under the Planning Act 2016.

Find out the current value of a penalty unit.


Noise monitoring

Council may conduct noise monitoring using a sound level meter at your premises when investigating complaints. Measurements of both, the problem noise and the background noise (noise level without the problem noise), are taken. The sound level meter is the most accurate way to measure noise. Other devices (e.g. smart phones) do not have the same functions and are not as accurate, therefore, not used by Council.


Common noise levels

Some common noise levels are:

  • quiet residential area – 40 decibels
  • large office – 50 decibels
  • washing machine – 50-75 decibels
  • lawn mower – 65-90 decibels.


Complaints not investigated by Council

Council shares responsibility for noise complaints with other authorities. Council does not investigate the following: