FAQ - NOISE COMPLAINTS
What can you do about loud noises?
If it's a neighbour being too noisy you can speak to them or write them a (polite) letter if you feel comfortable.
Here are some tips for keeping your emotions in check when you raise the issue:
Explain how the problem is affecting you
Give your neighbour a chance to tell their side of the story
Be prepared to listen and let the other person know you are listening
Try working on a resolution together
Take time to work on a solution and get it right
If you're in Queensland you can also talk with your local Dispute Resolution Centre, which provides free mediation sessions for neighbours to resolve disputes without having to go to court.
Do local governments deal with all noise complaints?
Depending on what the particular noise is you may need to go elsewhere to complain:
Loud native animals and birds: Contact the Department of Environmental and Heritage Protection on 1300 130 372
Loud pubs and clubs: Contact the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation on 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
Barking dog, construction, from a business, air conditioner/pool pump: Contact your Local Council, you should be able to make a complaint online or over the phone. (Have a look at Choose Your Council)
Aircraft: Contact: Air Services Australia on 1300 302 240
Military Camp: Department of Defence switchboard 1300 333 362
Other: Contact us NoiseNet on 1800 266 479
Choose Your Council
There are 7 councils in South-East Queensland. Every council has different ways to deal with noise complaints. If you're out of Queensland, check with the relevant authorities. You should be able to make the complaint online or over the phone with your local council.
Click your council below to learn more about your situation.
What happens when you submit a complaint to the council?
If you can't sort the noise issue out with your neighbour, then it's time to take your complaint to the relevant authorities. Once you have filled out a complaint online or rang the specific council there are a few steps that follow:
The Brisbane City Council writes to all involved parties about the issue and provides copies of relevant fact sheets and supporting information to assist in documenting a nuisance diary.
The parties are encouraged to discuss the problem and seek a possible solution.
If the resident or business operator takes no action to solve the problem, and a second complaint is made, a notice is normally issued to warn them about the potential fine for causing the nuisance.
If the resident still takes no action, a fine may be issued.
Council officers may issue on-the-spot fines after they investigate complaints. In the case of noise complaints, they may conduct noise monitoring from the complainant's premises
Your local government should have similar procedures in place, check the appropriate website.
What's the punishment for being too loud?
If it is Brisbane City Council, you can be issued with an on-the-spot fine or a Direction Notice (DN) for nuisance residential noise.
A Direction Notice will detail the offence and the timeframe the offender has to fix the problem. If the Direction Notice has not complied, Brisbane City Council may issue an on-the-spot fine or prosecute the offender in severe cases.
Things are a bit different when it comes to parties.
According to the QPS website, excessive noise from amplified music, motors, generators and guests is the number one reason why they are called to a party. They can investigate, and issue a noise abatement direction, directing the person to immediately stop the excessive noise and cease making any excessive noise for 96 hours after the direction is given.
If you break that direction, police can enter your home without a warrant with the view of commencing proceedings for an offence of failing to comply. If the police have to come back within those 96 hours for another noise complaint that's when on-the-spot fines or even a notice to appear in court is issues.
Guide to Decibels
Some noise regulations include a maximum loudness in decibels. Here are usual decibel levels for everyday situations:
Quiet room in the house - 20 to 30 decibels
Daytime in a quiet residential street - 35 to 45 decibels
Large busy office - 50 to 60 decibels
Lawnmower from 15 meters away - 70 decibels
The City of Melbourne's areas of service cover:
Kensington and Flemington
South Yarra - west
Residential noise restrictions
Residential noise comes from many different sources, including loud parties, home renovations, and music. The table below explains the times when certain types of residential noise are not allowed.
Different guidelines apply to commercial noise. For more information about commercial noise restrictions, call the EPA Hotline on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).
Even if the noise is happening within allowed times it may still be considered unreasonable. For example, the noise could be unreasonable because of the time, place or circumstances in which it is being made, or because of its volume, intensity or duration.