Noise and Light
  • Last updated:
  • 23 Aug 2016

Council investigates environmental nuisance complaints including noise and light.

The Environmental Protection Act 1994 regulates

  • noise nuisances
    • residential
    • commercial
    • industrial
  •  light nuisance.

Sometimes the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 may regulate noise and light nuisances. This occurs when a complaint has been made against a development that has a material change of use permit.


When investigating a light complaint, council will consider:

  • the amount of light

  • the length of time and rate of emission and the light's characteristics and qualities

  • the sensitivity of the environment and the impact of the light

  • views of any other neighbours or complainants

  • any development permit conditions of approval.

Refer to the Toolbox website.

For more information, contact council's customer service centre.


Council does not deal with the following types of noise problems.

 Problem noise

Who to contact

Off-road vehicles
Burglar alarms
Queensland Police on 13 14 44
Premises with liquor license Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) on 13 QGOV
State government properties or activities regulated by the state government Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on 1300 130 372

Acceptable noise levels and complaints

Noise can disrupt sleep and interfere with daily activities. If it is loud enough, it can also have a negative impact on people's health.

Guide to decibel levels

Some noise regulations include a maximum loudness in decibels. Some usual decibel levels for everyday situations are:

  • 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
  • lawn mower from 15 metres away - 70 decibels

Residential premises

For some residential premises council can issue an on-the-spot fine or a Direction Notice. A Direction Notice details the offence and the timeframe the offender has to fix the problem. If they do not comply with the Direction Notice, council may issue an on-the-spot fine. In severe cases council may prosecute the offender.

Commercial and industrial premises

Commercial and industrial properties must comply with the Environmental Protection Act 1994. There may also be development conditions and approvals they must comply with. If they do not comply, council may issues a Show Cause Notice or an Enforcement Notice.

An Enforcement Notice can require the company to meet the development conditions, take specific action or stop the noise activity. Council can also prosecute under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

The Environmental Protection Act 1994 outlines allowable noise levels for different types of equipment and activities.

Fact sheets, guidelines and information

Noise guidelines apply for: 

  • Air conditioning systems in residential areas
  • Amplifier devices in residential areas
  • Building sites in residential areas
  • Tools and maintenance work around the home
  • Water tank pumps, pool pumps and spa blowers
  • Refrigeration equipment in residential areas

Fact sheets are available from the Toolbox website.

Noise guidelines also apply to dogs that make excessive noise by barking. Refer to Barking and roaming dogs.


The Environmental Protection Act 1994 provides exemptions from noise created from:

  • traffic signals
  • railway signals
  • road noise
  • aircraft movement
  • safety signal noise from a reversing vehicle.
Other local government activities which are exempt include:
  • road maintenance
  • maintaining water and sewage services
  • preventing or removing public health risks.

To make a complaint

To lodge a complaint contact council's customer service centre.

Amplifier devices in residential areas
Amplifier devices in residential areas
Amplifier devices in residential areas
Building sites in residential areas
Tools and maintenance work around the home