Public Health and Safety

We consider safety a priority and provide advice on a range of public health issues to achieve and maintain acceptable health standards for all Darebin residents.

Asbestos is present in many homes and buildings throughout Melbourne and is safe if undisturbed. Council doesn't have a regulatory role in relation to asbestos, but we can advise you on who to contact.

Asbestos is present in many homes and buildings throughout Melbourne and is safe if undisturbed.  It only becomes a health risk when it is disturbed through activity such as drilling or cutting during home renovations, which allows asbestos particles to be released into the air where they can be breathed in. 

Council doesn’t have a regulatory role in relation to asbestos, which is why we’ll usually refer you to another agency who does, such as Worksafe Victoria or the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).  However we encourage all residents to be aware and responsible about asbestos in our community.

How to be Responsible about Asbestos Safety:
- Be asbestos aware – read the Government’s comprehensive guide:  Asbestos – A guide for householders and the general public available on www.health.gov.au
- When renovating, don’t attempt asbestos removal yourself use a licenced contractor. 
- Never put other people’s health at risk by illegally dumping asbestos.
- If you suspect asbestos isn’t being removed safely at a worksite, report it to Worksafe.
- If you see dumped asbestos in Darebin, call our Customer Service on 8470 8888.
- If asbestos is being removed from your home during home renovations, let your neighbours know beforehand and reassure them that it’s being handled safely.

Removal Advice
The Asbestos website is the collective advice from WorkSafe Victoria, the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and the Department of Health. It provides advice and information to help homeowners, tenants, employers and workers understand the risks of asbestos, how to comply with your duties, and resources for managing and removing asbestos in homes and workplaces.
Website: www.asbestos.vic.gov.au

Worksafe Victoria
Information about asbestos in the workplace or to find a licensed removalist.
Ph: 1800 136 089
Website: worksafe.vic.gov.au/asbesto

Department of Health
Asbestos: A guide for householders and the general public
Website: www.health.gov.au

Further Information:
Health Protection
Ph: 8470 8658

Customer Service
Ph: 8470 8888

We consider safety a priority and provide advice on a range of public health issues to achieve and maintain acceptable health standards for all Darebin residents.

We consider safety a priority and provide advice on a range of public health issues to achieve and maintain acceptable health standards for all Darebin residents.

All food outlets including hotels, restaurants, takeaway food shops and market street stalls are regularly visited by Health Officers to check on food storage, temperature control, food protection, cleanliness, personal hygiene of staff and maintenance of the premises.

Report a Public Health Issue
If you have any concerns regarding issues such as food poisoning, foreign objects found in food, food labeling queries or observe poor food handling practices you should contact us:

Further Information
Customer Service
Ph: 8470 8888

Darebin is a diverse Municipality with a variety of land uses and is increasingly becoming high density with apartment style living. As such, some noise is expected and needs to be accepted however the noise must not be unreasonable to neighbouring properties.

Too much noise can reduce a person’s quality of life and what may be enjoyable to one person, may not be enjoyable to others.  So it’s important to be considerate when creating noise.

What can I do about a noisy neighbouring property? 

1. Try talking with your neighbour first
If you are experiencing concerns with noisy neighbours, the best approach is to talk with them first. You may feel anxious about approaching your neighbour, but quite often they are not aware they are disturbing you. Having a discussion in the first instance with your neighbour about the problems that the noise has created will make your neighbours aware and be more considerate towards you in the future. 

2. Your problem isn’t easily resolved?
Should initial talks with your neighbour fail to find a solution to your concerns, the Department of Justice offer a free and confidential mediation service through the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV). The service is free and is a simpler and cheaper alternative to taking civil disputes through the courts.

The process does require the voluntary participation of both parties; however mediation through the Dispute Settlement Centre results in 85% of disputes ending in agreements.  

For more information, please see their website www.disputes.vic.gov.au or contact them on 1300 372 888.

3. When to contact an Authority
Should your attempt to either talk to the person emitting noise or seek mediation with them fail, Council and other authorities do have powers under both local and state legislation to investigate your concern. 

Legislation includes:
- Darebin City Council General Local Law 2015
- Environment Protection Act 1970
- Public Health & Wellbeing Act 2008
- Domestic Animals Act 1994
- Planning and Environment Act 1987

In ensuring a prompt investigation to your noise concerns, it’s important to submit a 14 day noise log before you report your complaint. For noise which is intermittent please complete the noise log for 14 consecutive days when the noise is occurring.

If Council is of the opinion that the matter is better settled privately the complainant will be advised of alternative methods for settling the matter.

Why a Noise Log?
The submission of a noise log assists Council with determining the duration and frequency of the noise in assessing if it is a potential breach.

These logs can also be used as evidence in the court of law should a noise issue be required to be heard by a magistrate.

In some cases multiple residents including the owner or occupier creating the noise will be completing logs so it is important that they are answered truthfully.  

Anonymity
In most cases the complainant’s identity will remain confidential.  A complainant's identity would only become known if legal enforcement proceedings are initiated.


Noise issues Council CAN investigate
 
Security Alarm Noise
Security alarms on both premises and vehicles should in the first instance be reported to Victoria Police by calling 000 in the event they are sounding due to an intruder. 

Should the alarm be sounding repeatedly when the resident is not home, it is best to approach the owner/resident regarding the noise as they may not be aware the issue is occurring. If the owner is not contactable, try contacting either someone known to the neighbour or a managing body to cease the noise and attempt to find a cause. 

Should the alarm noise continue and the owner has taken no action we suggest you contact Council on (03) 8470 8888.   You will be required to submit a noise log for a period of 14 days to report your complaint.

Building/Construction Noise 
The commencement of building works are governed through Council’s General Local Law 2015 which stipulates: 

S 16 – Asset Protection 

(4). Except in the case of an emergency or in accordance with a permit, an owner, the owner’s builder or the owner’s agent must ensure that no building works are undertaken outside of the following hours:  
(a) 7am and 8pm – Mondays to Fridays
(b) 9am and 6pm – Saturdays. 

(5) An owner or occupier is permitted to undertake building works on a Sunday between 9am and 6pm on premises that they are living in. 

Should you feel that a site is in breach of the Local Law, please contact Council’s Building Site Compliance Officer on (03) 8470 8899.

If you feel that a site is creating unreasonable noise that is not reasonably expected from a building site during the above prescribed times please contact Council’s Health Protection Unit on (03) 8470 8658.

Noisy Animals 
Barking dogs and noisy animals can in some circumstances be considered a nuisance. 

If you have an issue with a neighbour’s noisy animal, speak to the owners first about a possible solution. A pet owner has the responsibility to ensure that their animal does not become a nuisance. 

For further information on noisy animals or barking dogs, please visit Council’s Noisy Animals webpage. 

Residential Noise 
The Environment Protection Act 1970 makes it an offence to cause unreasonable noise from any residential premises.

In determining whether a noise is unreasonable, consideration is given to the time, frequency, volume, duration and intensity of the noise.

For further information on the times that noise can be made, please see the Environmental Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008. However it’s important to note that in some circumstances, noise can still be considered unreasonable at any time of day.

If initial attempts to talk to and mediate with your neighbour fail, please contact Council on (03) 8470 8888 to lodge a complaint. You will be required to submit a noise log for a period of 14 days to report your complaint.

Noise from Major Industry 

If you are a resident concerned about noise from major industry you can report the noise to EPA. The EPA mainly investigates noise from industries such as EPA-licensed sites and manufacturing sites.

For further information please see the EPA Commercial and Industrial Noise website or contact them on 1300 372 842.  

Commercial Noise 
Concerns relating to noise and activities from shops and other small commercial premises are investigated by local council. Investigations are carried out by either Council’s Health Protection Unit or Planning Investigations dependent on what conditions are contained within the premises planning permit. 

In many cases, businesses may not be aware that the noise they are creating is affecting nearby residents. Bringing this to their attention will not only make business operators aware of your concerns but they are also likely to be more considerate in future.

Should your attempts to discuss your concerns with the business owner fail, please complete a noise log for a period of 14 days and contact Council on (03) 8470 8888 to report your complaint. 

It should be noted that residents who chose to abut or reside within commercial zoning are reasonably expected to experience higher levels of noise than those surrounded by residential zoning. 

Noise from Entertainment Venues 
Loud music from venues can be an issue for nearby residents when the noise occurs late in the night. 

The State Environment Protection Policy (Control of Music Noise from Public Places) aims to protect residents from levels of music noise while recognising the community demand for a wide range of musical entertainment.

Compliance with this policy is commonly within a venues liquor licence and may also be within the premises planning permit. To view a premises liquor licence please visit the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation website.

For irregular or infrequent occurrences after hours, Victoria Police are best suited to attend venues when the noise is occurring. 

For ongoing issues, please complete a 14 day noise log and contact Council on (03) 8470 8888 to report your complaint. 


Noise issues Council CANNOT investigate


Late Night Music and Party Noise
If you are being disturbed by after hours noise coming from music and parties contact Victoria Police.  They can visit the property and order them to stop/reduce the volume when the noise is occurring through powers under the Environment Protection Act 1970.

Victoria Police - Local Police Stations
Reservoir – (03) 9460 6744
Preston – (03) 9479 6111
Northcote – (03) 9403 0200

Vehicles entering or leaving properties (including warming up) 
Noise associated with vehicles entering and leaving gates or garage doors are not investigated by Council or Police.  These matters are resolved through discussions with your neighbour.  If you are not able to resolve the matter, you could contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) on 1300 372 888. Victoria Police and the EPA are responsible for ensuring registered vehicles are roadworthy and compliant with noise emissions.

For further information contact: 
EPA – 1300 372 842

Concrete pours out of prescribed hours 
EPA sets standards for construction and demolition site noise. Concrete pours are considered ‘Unavoidable Works’ as per the EPA Noise Control Guidelines. For information or detail on the duration and/or finishing time contact the site supervisor.

Contact details of the site supervisor should be available on the temporary fencing.

People Noise
Concerns with noise from people including fighting, foul language, loitering and domestic disputes are best resolved by talking directly with your neighbour. Police can direct offenders to stop if the noise is considered unreasonable. 

For further information contact: 
Victoria Police - Local Police Stations
Reservoir – (03) 9460 6744
Preston – (03) 9479 6111
Northcote – (03) 9403 0200

Domestic activity 
Concerns with noise from domestic activity such as closing doors, talking, laughing, flushing toilets, ball sports and children playing are a private matter and are resolved by talking directly with your neighbour. If the matter is not resolved you could contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) on 1300 372 888 to work on a solution to settle the problem.

Planned works
Planned works are required to be conducted out of hours due to likely disruption to traffic, public transport or utilities. The EPA issue works approvals for such situations. Any concerns with noise from planned works are to be referred to the EPA on 1300 372 842 or visit www.epa.vic.gov.au.

Train track maintenance 
Problems with noise from public transport or noise from maintenance work on railway equipment is to be directed to the transport operator. You can also contact the Public Transport Ombudsman (Victoria) to investigate your complaint. The PTO can only investigate the complaint after the transport operator has had an opportunity to respond.

Primary Contact: Metro Trains on 1800 800 007
Secondary Contact: Public Transport Ombudsman (PTO) on 1800 466 865

Tram track maintenance
Problems with noise from public transport or noise from maintenance work on tramway equipment should be directed to the transport operator. You can also contact the Public Transport Ombudsman (Victoria) to investigate your complaint. The PTO can only investigate the complaint after the transport operator has had an opportunity to respond.

Primary Contact: Yarra Trams on 1800 800 007
Secondary Contact: Public Transport Ombudsman (PTO) on 1800 466 865

Aircraft Noise

Problems with noise from aircraft noise is to be directed to the aircraft operator. You can also contact Air Services Australia on 1800 802 584.

Emergency utility works
Problems with noise from emergency utility works should be referred to the operator conducting the works and they may be able to provide the expected completion date or time. 

For further information contact: 
Jemena (Power) – 1300 131 871
Envestra (Gas) – 1300 001 001
Yarra Valley Water (Water) – 1800 051 379

Emergency road works 
Problems with noise from emergency road works should be referred to Vic Roads on 13 11 71.

 

We can investigate cases of excessive odours or noise from a residence, and we can advise you who to contact about industrial noise and environmental pollution.

Excessive Residential Odour
For issues relating to odour a Health Protection Officer will need to observe the emissions for further action to be pursued. Health Protection will investigate matters considered to be unreasonable and will endeavour to resolve issues.

Further Information:
Health Protection
Ph: 8470 8658

Council can not provide direct pest control services. We can however provide information on pest control for rats, mice, cockroaches, bees and wasps.

We recommend good pest control practices, which include:

  • Chase the pests out using a chemical bait or trap,
  • Starve pests by removing any possible source of food,
  • Build pests out by sealing all gaps ensuring there is no way of entering the property,
  • Keep areas outside the house tidy; keep rubbish in bins with lids (if your council bin is damaged contact our Customer Service Team), keep lawns short and be sure to remove all green waste,
  • Avoiding leaving food, drink or pet food outside,
  • Pick up any fallen fruit of food scraps,
  • Keep compost covered at all times,
  • Keep swimming pools covered when not in use and cover birdbaths and fish ponds.

European Wasps and Bee swarms

Please be mindful that European wasps and Bees are most common in summer.

European wasps are widespread in Victoria and are an increasing problem in Australia due to lack of predators and warm weather conditions.  These wasps are far more aggressive than native wasps.

  • European wasps have yellow and black bodies, with yellow legs - different from the honey bee which has black legs.
  • European wasps can build their nests underground and in trees as well as under, or in the walls of houses. The nests look like grey cardboard and can grow to the size of a football.

Bees are slightly smaller than wasps and are less aggressive, usually only stinging in self-defence. They travel in swarms and often stay in an area only 1 or 2 days before moving on.

If you come across a group of Bees swarming in yours or a neighbouring property, contact SwarmPatrol to report the Bee swarm. They will facilitate notification of any swarms or feral colonies which can then be collected by Beekeepers to be relocated. For more information on European Wasps please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

If you notice any European wasps Nests or Bees hives on nature strips, Council buildings, or in parks around Darebin, please contact Council and we will arrange for it to be removed. if Wasps nests and Bee Swarms are found on light poles, contact the service providers:
  • AGL - 133 000
  • Origin Energy - 131 260,
  • Telecommunication Pit Telstra - 132 200.
  • Jemena Electricity Networks - 131 626
  • CitiPower - 1300 301 101

If you come to find European wasps nesting in your own backyard, please don’t attempt to remove the nest yourself as the wasps can become extremely aggressive when attacked and pack a nasty sting. A licensed pest controller should be your first port of call.

If you observe wasps on a neighbouring property, it is recommended that you speak to the property owner first about your observations. If your neighbour doesn't organise to remove the wasps nest please contact our Customer Service Team.

The Victorian Government has made changes to the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019. These changes require owners of public aquatic facilities to register their premises that contain pools and spa within their local Council.

Please note that the information on this page is for public aquatic facilities, and does not apply to private residential pools. Should you wish to register your residential pool, please click here.

Changes to the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019 (the Regulations) introduced the requirement to register with Aquatic Facilities to register Council.

The Regulation changes include an outline of registration requirements, the general duties of aquatic facility operators and the minimum requirements for operating an aquatic facility. The regulations identified 2 types of aquatic facilities that may pose a risk to public health.

Public Aquatic Facilities have been placed in risk-based classifications, these are:

A Category 1 Aquatic Facility is defined under the Regulations as any swimming pool, spa pool or interactive water feature that is:

  • Used by members of the public, whether free of charge or on payment of a fee; or
  • Used in association with a class or program that is offered free of charge or on payment of a fee, or
  • Located at the premises of an early childhood service, school or other educational institution, or
  • Located at premises at which residential aged care services are provided, or
  • Located at any of the following premises: Public Hospital, Multi Purpose Service, Denominational Hospital, Private Hospital, Privately-operated Hospital within the meaning of section 3(1) of the Health Services Act 1998.

A Category 2 Aquatic Facility is defined under the Regulations as a swimming pool or spa pool that is used by members of the public and located at the premises of the following:

  • residential apartment complex, or
  • hotel, motel or hostel

Aquatic Facility operators options include:

  • Register your aquatic facility with Council (Category 1 only); or
  • Notify Council of your aquatic facility (Category 2 only).

If you are require assistance in determine which category applies to your facility please contact the Health Protection Unit on 8470 8658.

Responsibilities of Aquatic Facility operators

  •  Complete a Water Quality Risk Management Plan and adhere to your plan;
  • Undertake water sampling as outlined in your Water Quality Risk Management Plan;
  • Notify Council of all failed water samples within 24 hours;
  • Follow Water Quality Risk Management Plan and the directions of Council when water samples fail;
  • Follow your Water Quality Risk Management Plan;
  • Maintain a record of operational and verification monitoring results for at least 12 months from the date the record was made;
  • Provide adequate training to all staff members specific to their role;
  • Ensure the aquatic facility is kept in a clean, sanitary and in a hygienic condition;
  • Follow the Water quality guidelines for public aquatic facilities; and
  • Follow the DHHS Healthy Swimming recommendations.

Registration fees

As part of Council’s COVID-19 Community and Local Business Resilience and Recovery Package the registration fees for existing aquatic facilities will be waived until the 31 December 2021.

Refer to Department of Health And Human Services Water Units, Aquatic Facilities page for more information on operating a Public Aquatic Facility .

Further Information
Health Protection Unit can be contacted by email health@darebin.vic.gov.au or phone 8470 8658.

Wood heaters are a legal form of heating in Darebin however when not operated or maintained correctly, they can cause a public health nuisance to surrounding neighbours.

Commonly a resident who operates a wood heater is not aware that the smoke they are creating is causing concern to their neighbours. It is recommended that if you are experiencing concerns from smoke to firstly speak with your neighbour regarding their wood heater to achieve an outcome that best suits all parties.

Reducing the frequency of operation of a wood heater and using alternative forms of heating will significantly reduce the impact a resident has on surrounding neighbours. However it is also important that when a person uses a wood heater they remember the following tips:

  • Ensure a registered plumber installs a wood heater that meets compliance with the Australian Standards.
  • Always use dry, seasoned wood. Unseasoned wood has a higher moisture content that is hard to ignite, slow to burn, produces more smoke and less heat.
  • Prepare for the following wood heater season the year before. Wood should be stored in a dry, covered and well ventilated area for at least 8 months prior to use. Wood should be stored in a criss-cross pattern to allow air circulation to dry the wood.
  • Use a moisture meter to test the moisture content of wood before burning. Wood that is suitable to be used should contain no more than 20% moisture. Moisture meters are commonly available from hardware outlets.
  • Never burn painted or treated wood which can contain lead or arsenic. Treated woods include fence palings and manufactured timber like chipboard and MDF.
  • Always ensure your wood heater burns brightly and is not allowed to smoke or smoulder. Firelighters should be used in preference to paper when starting a wood heater and it should be allowed to burn at a high rate for 20 minutes before adding more fuel.
  • Never overload your wood heater by placing too much wood in the fire and ensure the firebox is stacked in a way where air can circulate.
  • Regularly clean the firebox to remove ash and ensure your flue is cleaned at least once per year. Flue cleaning kits are commonly available from wood heater or hardware outlets.
  • Try to ensure that the tip of your flue is above the neighbours roof line and try to not use a wood heater on calm days.
  • If you are thinking of a wood heater for your home, consider natural gas instead. Gas heaters produce less pollution than wood heaters.

Smoke from wood heaters (even those operated correctly) can be harmful to both your own health and that of your neighbours.  Wood heaters are also a contributor to environmental air pollution.

Should talks with neighbours not succeed and smoke is still causing an issue, you can maintain a 14 day odour log and submit it to Council for investigation.

Section 26 of Council’s General Local Law 2015 states it is an offence to burn materials or substances in a wood heater that could be dangerous to health or offensive.

More information on wood smoke is available on the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website.

Further information
Health Protection
Ph: 8470 8658

 

Do you know how to properly dispose of syringes?

Disposing of sharps used at home
Syringes, pen needles and lancets are medical waste that need to be disposed of safely. Only use approved sharps containers. 

We provide free sharps containers for Darebin residents for personal use. They are available for collection and drop off once you have fill them at any Customer Service Centre.  If you have any questions about safe disposal, you can call our Health Protection team on 8470 8658, our Customer Service team on 8470 8888, or email us

The Victorian government also run a Needle and Syringe Program that includes even more locations for drop off and support. If you would like info about diabetes, visit the Diabetes Victoria or Diabetes Australia websites.

Information for businesses
Businesses that use sharps for services they provide, such as acupuncturists and doctors, must arrange for disposal via a private contractor. To find a contractor look under ‘medical waste disposal’ in the Yellow Pages or search online. 

Syringes in public places
If you come across a discarded syringe in a public place, you can contact us to have it removed via email or on 8470 8888. 

If you would like to dispose of the syringe yourself, only do so if you are prepared and feel comfortable to do so. This document provides clear instructions on how to dispose of a discarded syringe. 

 

 

You can make a complaint to us if you believe a business is breaching tobacco laws.

We conduct regular education visits to tobacco retailers, eating establishments, licensed premises and gaming venues in regards to administering and enforcing requirements under the Tobacco Act. This includes enforcing non-compliance in response to education visits and public complaints.

We aim to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco smoking through:

  • Enforcing smoke free dining
  • Banning smoking in designated areas of licensed premises, shopping centres, and children and young people areas used for recreational and sporting activities
  • Regulating display and advertising of tobacco products
  • Banning illegal tobacco products

Complaints
If you believe that a business is breaching the tobacco laws you may contact us to make a complaint.

Health Protection
Ph: 8470 8658
Email: health@darebin.vic.gov.au

Further Information
Department of Health
Website: www.health.vic.gov.au/tobaccoreforms
Ph: 1300 136 775 (Tobacco Information Line)