What you can do
Have a conversation
Speak to your neighbour or the responsible person. This is the most effective means of obtaining an amicable resolution. There is helpful advice available on the Department of Justice’s website on the best way to do this.
If the noise continues to be a problem, speak to an Environmental Health Officer at the City of Boroondara on 9278 4710.
The Environmental Health Officer will contact the alleged offender to advise him that a complaint has been received. Your name will be kept confidential.
Log the complaint
Complete diary sheets (DOC, 109KB) over a period of at least two weeks. For the matter to be investigated you must be prepared to record the times the noise has occurred, length of time the noise occurs, specific type of noise, indication of the volume of noise as judged from where it can be heard, and how it affects you,
If the diary sheets inadequately reflect the problem, the Environmental Health Officer may ask you to complete more diary sheets before undertaking further action.
Return the diary to Council
Return the completed diary sheets to the Environmental Health Officer.
The diary sheets assist the officer to determine the trend and scale of the problem, and provide evidence which may later be required in court.
The officer will then make an assessment of the evidence to determine whether the noise is a nuisance under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
Noise must be a significant and unreasonable. That is, it would affect an average person in a significant and unreasonable way for it to contravene the Act.
Continue to document noise you experience after the initial two week period, as this too may be required as evidence in court.
Council assesses the complaint
If satisfied that a nuisance exists, the Environmental Health Officer will take action to abate the nuisance (including the service of notices if appropriate). Alternatively, the Environmental Health Officer may notify you that the evidence does not support a nuisance or believes that the matter is better settled privately and provide advice for settling the matter privately.
If the Environmental Health Officer is not satisfied that the evidence supports a nuisance, then you will be informed and no further action will be taken.
Legislation governing noise
There is legislation to guide what is and isn’t appropriate regarding noise. These are:
- the Environmental Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008
- the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
The Environmental Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008 prohibits the use of specific types of equipment at certain times.
Both Council and police can enforce these regulations, and require evidence that the noise occurs outside the prohibited times over a prolonged period of time.
The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 prohibits a 'nuisance' that is dangerous to health or offensive, and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
'Offensive' is defined as a nuisance that is noxious or injurious to the personal comfort of the average person, ie affecting the person in a significant and unreasonable way.
The Act is unable to deal with noise associated with human behaviour such as people talking or arguing. The Act only has powers to deal with noise generated by machinery or equipment, for example loud music or noisy air conditioners.
Unlike the Environmental Protection Regulations, the Act does not authorise fixed penalties, but provides the parameters for Council and the Magistrates’ Court to assess noise nuisances.