Health

Noise

Learn what you can do about noise disturbance. What we and other authorities can do to enforce powers under legislation to investigate your concern.

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 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.

Noise
Do you have a noise complaint? Find out more on what to do in different situations where noise becomes a problem.
Noise - commercial and industrial
Find out more about what the rules are and actions you can take for commercial and industrial noise.
Noise - residential and construction
What are the rules and actions you can take for residential and construction noise complaints?