Noise

Council does not deal with noise complaints about:

  • Music (other than noise from an indoor venue or open air event), musical instruments, stereos, parties and rowdy behaviour. Contact the Queensland Policelink on 13 14 44
  • Premises with a liquor licence. Contact the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation on 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
  • State government properties or activities that are regulated by the state government. Contact the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on 1300 130 372
  • Off-road noisy vehicles and trail bikes. Contact the Queensland Policelink on 13 14 44
  • On-road noisy vehicles and trail bikes. Contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads on   13 23 80
  • Native animals and birds, such as crows. Contact the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on 1300 130 372

Noise standards have been set by either local or state government depending on jurisdiction. The following information outlines allowed decibel levels for different kinds of equipment and activities and the times they can be used.

Type of noiseDay and timeAllowable level
(above background noise)
Air-conditioning equipmentAny timeNo louder than 5dB(A) 
Amplified devices
Such as: loud hailers, megaphones, public address systems, remote telephone bell and repeater bell
Mon-Sat 7am-10pm
Mon-Sat 10pm-7am
Sunday and public holidays 8am-6pm
Sunday and public holidays 6pm-8am
No louder than 10dB(A)
No audible noise allowed
No louder than 10db(A) 
No audible noise allowed
Building work, including altering or demolishing a buildingMon-Sat 6.30am-6.30pm
Mon-Sat 6.30pm-6.30am
Sundays and public holidays
Work permitted
No audible noise permitted
No audible noise permitted
Indoor venuesAny day 7am-10pm
Any day 10pm-midnight
Any day midnight-7am 
No louder than 5dB(A)
No louder than 3dB(A)
No audible noise allowed
Open-air eventsAny day 7am-10pm
Any day 10pm-midnight

Any day midnight-7am
No louder than 70dB(A)
The lesser of 50dB(A) and 10dB(A) above background noise
No audible noise
Power boat engine at premisesMon-Sat 7pm-7am
Sunday and public holidays 6.30pm-8am
No audible noise
No audible noise
Pumps, including swimming pool and spa pumpsAny day 7am-7pm
Any day 7pm-7am
No louder than 5dB(A)
No louder than 3dB(A)
Refrigeration equipmentAny day at any time No louder than 5dB(A) 
Regulated devices
Such as: power tools, generators and lawn mowers
Mon-Sat 7am-7pm
Mon-Sat 7pm-7am
Sunday and public holidays 8am-7pm
Sunday and public holidays 7pm-8am
May be used
No audible noise allowed
May be used
No audible noise allowed

**Building work does not apply to a person carrying out building work at a premises used by the person only for residential purposes, except if under an owner builder permit.

Note: There are also noise standards for power boat sports in waterways, outdoor shooting ranges and blasting activities.

Note: Audible noise means noise that can be clearly heard by an individual who is an occupier of an affected building. An individual is taken to be able to clearly hear a noise if he or she can hear the noise from the part of the building occupied by the individual that is most exposed to the noise.

Complaints

When investigating a noise complaint, Council considers the:

  • Amount of noise being emitted
  • Duration and rate of noise and the noise's characteristics and qualities
  • Sensitivity of the environment into which the noise is being emitted and the potential impacts
  • View of other neighbours or complainants

  • During the investigation Council officers may conduct noise monitoring to determine if the source is compliant Monitoring is done on the complainants property, in fine weather and only light winds to ensure accurate readings.

Ways you can reduce noise emissions

  • Consider the time of day and duration of noise.
  • Investigate the dB(A) level before use.
  • Ensure noise generating apparatus is operated in accordance with manufacture guidelines.
  • Conduct works within a workshop or erect appropriate noise barriers.

You can make a complaint by phoning Council on 4044 3044 or alternatively online at www.cairns.qld.gov.au.

Last updated: 20 December 2016