The Regulations for music noise from indoor entertainment venues
Part 5.3, Division 4, Subdivision 2 of the Regulations applies to music noise from indoor entertainment venues.
An indoor entertainment venue is defined in the Regulations as ‘any premises (other than residential premises or an outdoor entertainment venue) where music is played and includes a live music entertainment venue, hotel, tavern, cabaret, night club, discotheque, reception centre, skating rink, restaurant, cafe, health and fitness centre, recording and rehearsal studio, theatre, amusement park, amusement parlour, retail store, shop, public hall and club’.
4.1. Unreasonable noise from indoor entertainment venuesUnder the Regulations (regulation 125), noise is unreasonable for the purposes of paragraph (b) of the definition of unreasonable noise if:
- it is emitted from an indoor entertainment venue; and
- the effective noise level exceeds:
- the noise limit that applies at the time the noise is emitted (day and evening period or night period) (regulation 125(1)(a)); or
- the alternative assessment criterion that applies at the time the noise is emitted if the assessment is conducted at an alternative assessment location as specified in the Noise Protocol (regulation 125(1)(b); and
- the noise doesn't comply with regulation 122 of the Regulations (see part 2.6 of this guide ).
4.1.1. Sources of noise that must or must not be taken into accountUnder regulation 124, the following noise sources must be taken into account when assessing if noise emitted from an indoor entertainment venue is prescribed unreasonable noise under the Regulations:
- noise from human voices and activities within the entertainment venue that are associated with the music sources
- in the case of a place of worship, the performance or playing of music that is not related to recognised religious observance.
4.1.2. Operating times
No time restrictions are set on the operation of indoor entertainment venues. Instead, stricter noise limits apply during the night period than in the day and evening period.
Regulation 123 sets out operating time periods for when music noise can be emitted from indoor entertainment venues. The times for the day and evening period and the night period vary on different days of the week, as shown in Table 1. The night period commences earlier on Sundays and public holidays, providing a greater degree of protection for sleep within the surrounding community.
|Days of the week
|Day and evening period
|Monday to Saturday
(other than a public holiday)
|7 am to 11 pm Monday to Friday
(other than a public holiday or a day preceding a public holiday)
|11 pm to 7 am the following day
|Sunday or public holiday
(other than if either precedes a public holiday)
9 am to 10 pm Saturday or any day preceding a public holiday
|10 pm to 7 am the following day
|Sunday or public holiday
(if either precedes a public holiday)
|9 am to 11 pm Sunday or a public holiday (if neither precedes a public holiday)
|11 pm to 9 am the following day
4.1.3. Effective noise level and noise limit
Limits for music noise apply in noise sensitive areas that include places where people live, learn or stay for recreation purposes.
- residences or other places where people reside or sleep
- child care centres or schools
- campgrounds and caravan parks in rural areas.
The noise limits are associated with the background noise level and are set using the methods in the Noise Protocol. The Noise Protocol must be read in conjunction with the Regulations. During the day and evening period noise limits are set to allow activities such as talking, reading, and watching television to occur without undue interference. During the night period, more stringent noise limits are set for indoor entertainment venues so that sleep is not disturbed. The assessment of noise for the night period considers the more intrusive frequencies of the music noise. The noise limits are based on the level of music noise above the background noise.
Background noise is measured in the absence of music from the indoor entertainment venue and is represented by the measured LA90 or LOCT90 values. Music noise is considered more intrusive and disturbing when it exceeds the background noise by a greater margin. The methods for measuring background noise are described in the Noise Protocol. Further guidance can be found in EPA publication 1997 Technical guide: Measuring and analysing industry noise and music noise.
When background levels are unusually low, the base noise limits in regulation 125(2) apply. The base noise limits are the lowest decibel values that can be set for the corresponding operating time period.
Effective noise level
Music noise from an indoor entertainment venue is assessed as an effective noise level. It is usually measured within a noise sensitive area but can also be measured at an alternative assessment location (see Assessing noise at an alternative location below).
The effective noise level is compared to the applicable noise limit for the noise sensitive area during the corresponding operating time period (day and evening period or night period). The music noise is prescribed unreasonable noise if the effective noise level exceeds the noise limit.
If two or more indoor entertainment venues contribute to the effective noise level in a noise sensitive area, the noise limit that applies to each venue must be determined in accordance with the Noise Protocol (regulation 126).
The metrics for the effective noise levels and the noise limits are shown in Table 2.
|Operating time period
|Effective noise level
|Day and evening
|LA90 + 5 dB
LOCT90 + 8 dB
The Noise Protocol describes the noise measurement descriptors LA90, LAeq, LOCT90 and LOCT10.
Predicting, measuring and assessing music noise
EPA publication 1997 Technical guide: Measuring and analysing industry noise and music noise describes how to use the Regulations and Noise Protocol to predict, measure and assess music noise from indoor entertainment venues.
Assessing noise at an alternative location
The Regulations also enable the assessment of noise at a location other than a noise sensitive area in accordance with the Noise Protocol. This is referred to as an alternative assessment location.
When the assessment is conducted at an alternative assessment location, the effective noise level is compared with the alternative assessment criterion to determine compliance with the Regulations. These criteria use the same metrics as the noise limits for the corresponding operating period and must be set in accordance with the Noise Protocol.
Where two or more indoor entertainment venues contribute to the effective noise level of the music noise in a noise sensitive area, the alternative assessment criterion can be used to assess whether each venue, when combined, complies with the noise limit.
4.2. Aggravated noise from indoor entertainment venuesUnder section 168 of the Act, a person must not emit, or permit the emission of, noise that is prescribed to be aggravated noise. Aggravated noise is measured using the same method as the effective noise level.
Reviewed 28 March 2023