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Noise management
Time restrictions
Barking dogs
Licensed premises
Air conditioners
Swimming pools

Noise pollution is defined under the  Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) as 'the emission of offensive noise, which means noise that by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances, is harmful (or is likely to be harmful) to or interferes unreasonably (or is likely to interfere unreasonably) with the comfort or repose of a person outside the premises from which the noise is emitted'.  

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) and the Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2000 (Noise Control Regulation) provide the legal framework and basis for managing unacceptable noise from:
  • alarms
  • animals
  • machines
  • music & parties
  • licensed premises.
The Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008 sets certain limits on noise emissions from motor vehicles, vessels and domestic use of certain equipment and contains specific provisions relating to common noise problems, including restrictions on the use of: 
  • air conditioners
  • pool pumps
  • power tools
  • building and car alarms
There is no system for regular monitoring of noise levels in urban environments. Controlling noise is most often in response to public complaints. In most situations it is recommended to discuss the matter with whoever is causing the noise nuisance, as people often do not realise they are creating excessive noise and are more than happy to try and solve the problem.

Time restrictions


 Noise source  Time restrictions   Contact
Power tools and equipment (powered garden tools - e.g. lawn mowers and leaf blowers - electric or pneumatic tools, chainsaws, circular saws, gas or air compressors and swimming pool or spa pumps) 8 pm to 8 am on Sundays and public holidays
8 pm to 7 am on weekdays and Saturdays
Local Council or Police
Musical instruments and electronically amplified sound equipment (e.g. radios, TV's, CD and DVD players) Midnight to 8 am on Friday, Saturday or any day preceding a public holiday

10 pm to 8 am on any other day

Local Council or Police
Air conditioners and heat pump water heaters 10 pm to 8 am on weekends and public holidays

10 pm to 7 am on weekdays

Local Council or Police
Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises) 8 pm to 8 am on weekends and public holidays

8 pm to 7 am on weekdays

Local Council or Police
Refrigeration units fitted to motor vehicles 8 pm to 8 am on weekends and public holidays

8 pm to 7 am on weekdays

Local Council or Police

Licensed premises

Noise complaints from licensed premises or their patrons are handled by the Department of Liquor, Gaming and Racing manages. The Department places noise conditions on the liquor licence and enforces them should compaints be received.  To report noise disturbance from licensed premises, please telephone the Department of Liquor, Gaming and racing on (02) 9995 0300.          

Domestic air conditioners

Domestic air conditioners must not cause offensive noise to neighbouring residents. Under the Noise Control (Miscellaneous Articles) Regulation 1995, domestic air conditioners must be inaudible during the following times: 10pm to 7am weekdays 10pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays Council can issue Notices or Noise abatement directions to control and regulate noise levels and operating times. Individuals can be fined from $200 up to $400 for non-compliance.

Before installing air conditioning systems residents should check with Council's Development Services to check whether a development application is required. The motor unit should be located away from neighbours bedrooms and living areas to prevent potential noise nuisance. A noise barrier between the neighbour and the unit may also be required to ensure no noise nuisance is created. Noise complaints can be reported to Council’s Development & Environmental Services Group on (02) 4429 3111 during business hours.    

Swimming pool or spa pumps 

Swimming pool or spa pumps must not cause offensive noise to neighbouring residents. Under the Noise Control (Miscellaneous Articles) Regulation 1995, swimming pool pumps must not be able to be heard in a neighbour's house during the following times: 8pm to 7am weekdays 8pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays.  At all other times, the noise emitted must not exceed 5 decibels (dB(A)) above the background noise level. Council can issue Notices or Noise abatement directions to control and regulate noise levels and operating times.

To minimise noise nuisance, swimming pool pumps must be located as far as practicable from neighbouring residents bedrooms and living areas. In some circumstances noise enclosures may also be necessary to prevent noise emissions causing a disturbance. Noise complaints regarding swimming pool or spa pumps can be reported to Council’s Development & Environmental Services Group on (02) 4429 3111.

Contact Us

(02) 4429 3111
council@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au
P.O. Box 42, Nowra NSW 2541 Australia
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