Complying with acceptable noise levels
Noise that negatively impacts local residents and businesses may be considered unreasonable if it exceeds the noise limit prescribed by regulation or contravenes a compliance order or condition of your liquor licence.
If an Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) investigation finds noise from your licensed premises is unreasonable, action may be taken to make you reduce it to a reasonable level or stop the noise.
How we assess noise complaints
OLGR makes every effort to work with you and complainants to resolve noise complaints, but it's important you do everything you can to prevent your venue from becoming a potential problem for your neighbours.
When assessing noise complaints, we may consider:
- the number of complaints we receive about the same issue
- the frequency of problem noise
- whether you're meeting your liquor licence conditions
- whether ambient background noise meets the levels allowed under section 40 of the Liquor Regulation 2002
- any reasonable steps you're taking to ensure the use of your venue doesn't adversely affect the local area
- whether any changes have been made to your premises or a nearby residence or business which contribute to the problem noise. This is called the 'order of occupancy'.
Assessing order of occupancy
Prior occupancy may prevent us taking further action.
Consider, for example, a new apartment block is built next door to an established venue. A new tenant complains about the volume of amplified noise coming from the venue. We would investigate the complaint and work with the licensee to resolve the tenant's concerns, taking into account:
- who was there first
- whether any structural changes were recently made to the venue or the complainant's residence
- whether the venue had introduced a new activity (e.g. live entertainment) that was causing the noise.
How we resolve issues with unreasonable noise
When investigating complaints about noise, OLGR will apply its noise enforcement policy. We will commonly follow this process:
- We will contact you to give you an opportunity to address the complaint.
- Compliance officers may attend the premises to discuss strategies to address the concerns of affected residents. We may also inspect the premises to assess your compliance with the Liquor Act 1992 and noise conditions (if applicable).
- We may place noise logging equipment inside a complainant's residence to determine whether any noise is unreasonable under the Liquor Regulation.
- If indicative noise testing indicates the noise may be unreasonable, then we will arrange more formal noise testing from a complainant's residence in consultation with the complainant.
- If formal noise testing establishes noise to be unreasonable, we may issue a noise abatement notice instructing you to take certain action to prevent further unreasonable noise. Noise abatement notices may remain in effect for up to 3 months (unless extended in writing).
- If you fail to comply with the abatement notice and unreasonable noise is further established, we may issue a compliance order requiring all noise from the premises to cease until you have taken appropriate action. We can also issue an on-the-spot fine of up to $3,096.
- If we detect any further instances of non-compliance, the Commissioner of Liquor and Gaming may impose a variation to the noise conditions on your liquor licence. We may also start prosecution proceedings in the Queensland courts or take other disciplinary action (e.g. cancel your licence or permit).
Compliance orders for unreasonable noise
If unreasonable noise from your premises continues to be a problem anytime in the 12 months after we issued an abatement notice, we can issue a compliance order requiring you to stop the unreasonable noise.
Your premises includes any area containing plant and equipment that is used for the benefit of your premises, even if it isn't physically located at the premises.
A compliance order can remain in effect until you demonstrate you have permanently limited unreasonable noise or for up to 6 months (unless extended in writing).
We can also take other action under the Liquor Act, in conjunction with a compliance order, for example, issue a further abatement notice, vary a licence or permit, take disciplinary action or start court proceedings.
It is an offence not to comply with a compliance order. The maximum penalty is $15,480 (100 penalty units).
Prosecution for unreasonable noise
If you fail to comply with a compliance order, we can start proceedings in a Magistrates Court without further notice to you. If found guilty, the maximum fine is $15,480.
Contact OLGR for information about minimising noise in your licensed premises.
- Read more about noise limits in licensed venues.
- Access printable noise signage for licensed venues.
- Read about patron and staff safety on licensed premises.
- Take our complying with noise requirements for licensed venues refresher and test your knowledge with the quiz.