Acceptable noise levels and complaints | Brisbane City Council

Acceptable noise levels and complaints

Noise can disrupt sleep and interfere with daily activities. If loud enough, it can also have a negative impact on people's health.

Complaints not handled by Council

Brisbane City Council does not deal with noise complaints about:

  • music, loud stereos, parties, rowdy behaviour and burglar alarms. Phone the Queensland Police on 13 14 44
  • premises with a liquor licence that are not located within the Fortitude Valley special entertainment area identified in the Brisbane City Plan 2014. Phone the Queensland Government on 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
  • state government properties or activities that are regulated by the state government. Phone the Queensland Government on 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
  • off-road noisy vehicles and trail bikes. Phone the Queensland Police on 13 14 44
  • on-road noisy vehicles and trail bikes. Phone the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80.


The Environmental Protection Act 1994 provides exemptions from noise created from traffic signals, railway signals and road noise.

Other local government activity exemptions include:

  • road maintenance
  • maintaining water and sewage services
  • preventing or removing public health risks.

Guide to decibel levels

Some noise regulations include a maximum loudness in decibels. Here are usual decibel levels for everyday situations:

  • quiet room in a house - 20 to 30 decibels
  • daytime in a quiet residential street - 35 to 45 decibels
  • large busy office - 50 to 60 decibels
  • lawn mower from 15 metres away - 70 decibels.

Residential premises

Council can issue an on-the-spot fine or a Direction Notice for nuisance residential noise. A Direction Notice details the offence and timeframe the offender has to fix the problem. If a Direction Notice is not complied with, Council may prosecute the offender in severe cases.

Commercial and industrial premises

Some commercial and industrial properties have development approvals and conditions which must be complied with. If a company does not comply, Council may issue a Show Cause Notice or an Enforcement Notice.

An Enforcement Notice can require the company to comply with the development conditions, take specific action, or stop the activity causing the noise issues. Council can also prosecute offenders under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

The Environmental Protection Act 1994 outlines allowable noise levels for different types of equipment and activities.

How to lodge a complaint

Find out how to lodge a complaint about a nuisance issue.

27 February 2019