Complying with noise legislation for licensed venues
Licensees have an obligation under the Liquor Act 1992 to take all reasonable steps to ensure the use of their premises does not negatively impact on the amenity of the local community.
Licensees should make sure they comply with any noise conditions on their licence and be mindful that noise coming from their venue is not unreasonable. This includes noise from:
- entertainment on the licensed premises
- patrons at, entering or leaving the premises
- motors, including generators and air conditioning units.
Entertainment noise limits and compliance with licence conditions
Providing entertainment is only mandatory for premises with a nightclub licence.
If you hold any other type of liquor licence you may host or conduct entertainment activities that may result in noise emanating from the premises, subject to fulfilling specific obligations as required by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), for example, supplying an acoustic report. Specific approval from OLGR to host or conduct entertainment is not needed, unless the conditions of your licence prohibit the entertainment and provided the premises is sufficiently soundproofed to prevent unreasonable noise at nearby residences and businesses.
The typical music volumes required for common forms of entertainment include:
(decibels relative to the carrier)
Person talking normally at 1m
Piped restaurant music
Video disk background music
Other small bands
Small rock band
Noise levels and liquor licence conditions
If you apply for a new liquor licence or for a change to your current licence and do not intend to have entertainment, then (in most cases) a maximum allowable noise limit of 75 decibels measured approximately 3 metres from the source, will be endorsed on the licence.
The same limit of 75 decibels may also apply if you want to provide entertainment but do not obtain an acoustic report to submit with your new licence or alteration application.
You must provide OLGR with a report from an acoustic consultant if you apply to have a current condition prohibiting or limiting amplified entertainment removed or varied, or if you intend to conduct amplified entertainment above 75 decibels at a new establishment.
If an acoustic report indicates the premises can contain a specified noise level, a licence condition will limit any noise source to this level.
Ability of premises to contain noise
The ability of the premises to contain noise, and not the type of entertainment, determines whether or not a condition is imposed. This prevents new problems arising when changes in management occur, and the entertainment is changed.
OLGR may impose a condition on your licence if your building is unable to contain noise levels. Conditions are imposed at the time a licence is granted or varied, or as a result of substantiated complaints, and will set volume levels for any entertainment or patron noise at your premises.
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