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Under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act), the general environmental duty applies to the operation of entertainment venues and events. Venue managers and event organisers must reduce the risk of activities potentially harming the environment or human health. This is through pollution, including noise, or waste.
The Act says it’s an offence to make unreasonable noise or aggravated noise.
Noise and the Regulations
The Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (Part 5.3, Division 4) sets out what is unreasonable noise from entertainment venues and outdoor entertainment events. Music noise from entertainment venues or events is unreasonable if:
- it exceeds the noise limits, or
- is emitted without a permit that is required for the venue or event.
The Noise limit and assessment protocol for the control of noise from commercial, industrial and trade premises and entertainment venues (publication 1826) (Noise Protocol) sets noise limits for music noise from entertainment venues and events.
Aggravated noise is a serious offence and significant penalties apply. Music noise from entertainment venues is aggravated noise if it exceeds the noise limit by a certain amount.
Councils and other agencies may also set restrictions on indoor and outdoor entertainment venue music noise levels.
For information about residential noise like stereos and musical instruments, see residential noise.
When noise restrictions apply to indoor entertainment venues
No time restrictions are set for the operation of indoor entertainment venues. Instead, stricter noise limits apply during the night compared to the day and evening.
The night period starts at:
- 11 pm Monday to Saturday
- 10 pm on Sundays and public holidays when the next day is a not public holiday
- 11 pm on Sundays or a public holiday when the next day is a public holiday.
Operating times for outdoor entertainment venue noise
An operation that involves music noise from an outdoor entertainment venue must:
- start after 12 pm
- finish by 11 pm.
Sound checks before an event are not normally included in the standard operating hours.
You may need a permit for an event at an outdoor entertainment venue.
Operating times for outdoor entertainment event noise
An outdoor entertainment event on public land must stay within the standard operating hours:
- Monday to Saturday – 7 am to 11 pm
- Sunday and public holidays – 9 am to 11 pm.
You may need a permit for an outdoor entertainment event, including louder events or concerts, before 12 noon on any day.
EPA has published a comprehensive guidance series for business and community. The series explores how the environment protection framework (laws and regulations) apply to noise.
The series covers:
- how different sources of noise are regulated under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (for example, music noise vs industrial noise)
- how noise can be assessed (using qualitative ‘common sense’ assessment and quantitative technical measurements)
- how the different environment protection laws interact (the general environmental duty vs the duty not to emit unreasonable noise)
- examples of how you can comply with these laws and regulations
The series does not cover how residential noise is regulated under the Environment Protection Act 2017. For information visit, Residential noise.
Three parts of the series are relevant to music noise from entertainment venues:
Unreasonable noise guidelinesThese guidelines explain the concept of unreasonable noise. This includes pathways for determining if noise is unreasonable, and how they work with the general environmental duty. It also includes case study examples of compliance, enforcement and resolution of noise pollution events. For information visit, Unreasonable noise guidelines.
Entertainment venues and outdoor entertainment events music noise guidelines
These guidelines give a comprehensive explanation of how the Environment Protection Act 2017 (section 25, section 166 and section 168) and the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (Part 5.3, Division 4) apply to noise from entertainment venues and outdoor entertainment events. For information, visit Entertainment venues and outdoor entertainment events music noise guidelines.
Permit guidelines for outdoor entertainment venues and events
These guidelines explain the permitting requirements for individuals and businesses who are planning musical entertainment at an outdoor entertainment venue or event. For information visit, Permit guidelines for outdoor entertainment venues and events.
More about music noise from venues and events
Reviewed 8 May 2023