Noise can annoy different people in different ways. What is acceptable to one person may be offensive to another.

Noise is determined offensive based on the following factors:

  1. Its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances.
  2. Whether it is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted.
  3. Whether it interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with) the comfort or repose of a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted.

Dealing with neighbourhood noise

If you are experiencing nuisance noise we suggest you follow these steps:

1. Try to resolve the matter with the person

Talk to the people causing the noise who may not realise they are being noisy and may work with you to solve the problem.

2. Attend mediation at a Community Justice Centre

If the noise continues, you can contact a Community Justice Centre (CJC) for mediation.

Visit the Comunity Justice Centre website for contact details.

3. Contact Council or your local police station

If mediation is unsuccessful, the parties won’t attend, and the noise continues, you can then contact Council's Customer Service Centre.  You can also contact your local police station should the noise be occurring outside of Council business hours.

Council and Police can serve notices requiring people to control offensive noise and advising them what noise levels are acceptable.

This includes noise from animals, appliances, including air conditioners, swimming pool pumps, heat pump water heaters, radios, sound reproduction equipment, musical instruments, power tools, lawn mowers, and burglar alarms.

The notice can require the noisy activities to be restricted to certain times of the day or certain days. If the notice is not complied with, Council can issue a fine or prosecute.

People who receive a notice can appeal against it. 

Visit the EPA website for residential noise time restrictions

4.  Seek a noise abatement order from a court

If your neighbour continues the noise, you can seek a noise abatement order through your local court. There are fees for applying for a noise abatement order.

If the court is satisfied that the neighbour is causing an offensive noise or that the noise is likely to recur, it may order them to stop the noise or prevent a recurrence. If the person fails to comply with the order, they could be prosecuted.

The person responsible for causing the noise can appeal against the order.

Find out more about noise abatement orders at the EPA website

Further information

Visit the EPA noise website for further information, including specific details about the following types of noise:

  • Neighbourhood noise
  • Vehicle noise
  • Transport noise
  • Industrial noise
  • Noisy exhaust

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Page last updated: 18 Mar 2019