Long Weekend and Noise

As it’s a long weekend here in Oz, we find it quite fitting to post up something about neighborhood noise and legalities…

Power tools, parties and overly excited pooches – neighbourhoods can be noisy places. Every neighbourhood is subject to certain local council rules and regulations regarding noise that can help you decide when to throw a party or complain about the one next door!

1. Music
If it’s played at the right times, loud music can be a joy. Other times, it can be a headache, keeping people awake and causing unnecessary tension. The following restrictions determine when it is not permitted for loud music to be audible from any habitable room on a neighbour’s property.

NSW: Music is prohibited between midnight and 8am on Friday, Saturday and any day preceding a public holiday. It’s restricted from 10pm to 8am on any other day.

ACT: In residential areas of the ACT, noise can’t exceed 45 dB between 7am and 10pm or 35 dB between 10pm and 7am.

Qld: There is no time-based noise restriction. Instead, excessive noise can be reported at any time of day.

Vic: Loud music must be switched off between 10pm and 7am Monday to Thursday. On Fridays, the curfew is 11pm. Music is restricted before 9am and after 11pm on Saturdays, and before 9am and after 10pm on Sundays.

SA: Noise complaints are subjectively assessed and not governed by time-based restrictions. In general, music should not exceed the volume of ordinary background noise by more than 8 dB.

Tas: Loud music is permissible from 7am to 10pm between Monday and Thursday, and from 7am to midnight on Friday. It may be played from 9am to midnight on Saturdays. On Sundays, it is unrestricted between 10am and 10pm.

WA: The definition of ‘excessive noise’ is left to the police. In general, music shouldn’t be audible within habitable rooms of a neighbour’s house between 7pm and 7am Monday to Saturday, or 7pm and 9am on a Sunday
NT: Residents are advised to restrict noisy music to between 7pm and 7am Monday to Saturday, and 9am and 6pm on Sundays or public holidays.

2. Pets
A dog that barks all night can quickly go from ‘man’s best friend’ to ‘sleep’s worst enemy’. Read on to learn your state’s laws concerning your, or others’, noisy pets.

NSW: There are no defined times when a barking dog is not permitted. Instead, you can contact a community justice centre or, if the noise persists, issue your neighbour with a nuisance order.

ACT: The ACT Government encourages residents to communicate with their neighbours if a noisy animal is causing frustration. If the issue remains unresolved, you can submit an Animal Nuisance Complaint Form to Domestic Animal Services.

Qld: If speaking to the dog’s owner doesn’t work, you are advised to contact your local council for further assistance. The council may issue the dog’s owner with an abatement notice or fine.

Vic: Complaints about noisy dogs can be directed to the relevant local council, which can, if deemed appropriate, fine the animal’s owner or instruct them to abate the barking.

SA: Each local council has an Animal Management Office to which any complaints about noisy animals should be directed for evaluation and follow-up.

Tas: Aggravated residents are expected to communicate their grievances to the animal’s owner and work towards a mutually satisfactory outcome. If this fails, the matter can, for a fee, be referred to the relevant local council.

WA: The Dog Act empowers local governments to take action if valid complaints are received about an excessively noisy dog. Owners may be served with a six-month noise abatement notice or, if the problem persists, fined up to $5000.

NT: Community justice centres are the first port of call for those driven to despair by a noisy dog. If the issue remains unresolved, the local council may get involved and serve the dog’s owner with an abatement notice.

3. Power tools
Power tools such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and electric drills and saws are much more efficient than their manual counterparts – but they’re also much louder. If you’re planning to renovate your home, build some furniture or tidy the garden, you should know your relevant noise restrictions.

NSW: Use of power tools is prohibited between 8pm and 7am on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays, they are not impermissible before 8am and after 8pm.

ACT: Power tools are governed by the same laws that cover loud music (see above).

Qld: Power tools mustn’t be clearly audible between 7pm and 7am Monday to Saturday, or 7pm and 8am on Sundays and public holidays.

Vic: Residents mustn’t use power tools before 7am or after 8pm from Monday to Friday. On weekends and public holidays, usage must be limited to after 9am and before 8pm.

SA: South Australia’s noise policy stipulates that power tools can only be used between 9am and 8pm on a Sunday, or 8am and 8pm on any other day.

Tas: Use of power tools is limited to between 7am and 6pm on weekdays, 9am and 6pm on Saturdays, and 10am and 6pm on Sundays and public holidays.

WA: Hand-held power tools can only be used for up to two hours each day. Furthermore, usage is restricted to between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am and 7pm on Sundays and public holidays.

NT: Power tools are governed by the same laws that cover loud music (see above).

4. Vehicles
Be it a ride-on lawnmower or a Lamborghini, if it has an engine, the chances are its owner will rev it with gusto. By obeying the following laws, you can enjoy driving your new toy without driving your neighbours insane.

NSW: Excessive vehicular noise is prohibited between 8pm and 8am on weekends, and 8pm and 7am on weekdays.

ACT: In Canberra, noise restrictions change depending upon the residential zone in which you live. For further information, check the government’s Noise ACT website.

Qld: There are no specific time-based laws governing vehicular noise. Instead, complaints are to be directed to the police, who will use their discretion to address the issue.

Vic: Unless it is entering or leaving premises, a vehicle must remain quiet before 7am and after 8pm on weekdays, and before 9am and after 8pm on weekends and public holidays.

SA: As in Queensland, the police are authorised to perform subjective noise assessments of offending vehicles.

Tas: Complaints about excessively noisy vehicles are to be directed to the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources by calling 1300 135 513.

WA: Vehicular noise laws are determined by local governments so check with your local council. Complaints may also be made to the police.

NT: Owners of noisy vehicles should abide by the same restrictions governing loud music (see above).
It might be true that ‘good fences make good neighbours’ – but the same could be said of good noise restrictions. By familiarising yourself with local noise regulations, you can relax in your own home and ensure your neighbours can too!

Remember: anytime you think someone’s annoying you with noise think about when you might need some leniency…

c/o J Carr


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