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What noise is acceptable?

Merri-bek is a vibrant and diverse city with mixed land uses. As such, some noise is expected and needs to be accepted.

A noise being "reasonable" or "unreasonable" depends on the circumstances, which includes:

  • the day – a weekday or on the weekend
  • the time
  • how loud the noise is
  • duration of the noise
  • the source and type of noise, and
  • where the noise can be heard, such as inside a bedroom with a window open.

Often the best approach for dealing with noisy neighbours is to talk
to them and work together on a solution to settle the problem.

The EPA Victoria Booklet - A guide to dealing with residential noise (PDF 1Mb) has more information on how to deal with noise and legal requirements, or you can visit their page on Prohibited times for Residential Noise.


Sources of noise

Noise from residential premises

Some noises that you can hear inside a habitable room, such as a bedroom, from nearby residential properties may be unreasonable at certain times and days. 

The EPA Victoria website has a list of prohibited times for residential and tips on how to address common residential noise issues.

If the residential noise is from a one-off or infrequent event, such as a party, and is excessive, you should contact Victoria Police. Council only investigates ongoing noise issues.

Victoria Police should also be contacted if the noise relates to anti-social behaviour or criminal activities.

Noise from residential construction

Laws addressing unreasonable noise also apply to construction work (including home renovations) and large-scale residential work.

Equipment like jack-hammers and power tools are included in the restricted times for noise. Even during normal working hours, noise from construction may still be unreasonable.

Site preparation – such as moving materials before 7 am weekdays or 9 am weekends – would likely be unreasonable if it was loud enough to disturb neighbours.

If you're planning construction work, you should talk to your neighbours first. If you are experiencing a disturbance from residential construction noise, you can report it to us below using our form for making a noise complaint.

Noise from air conditioners or evaporative coolers

The Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2018 lists specific types of equipment and the times when you can use them.

You cannot use your air conditioner or evaporative cooler, or pool or spa pump:

  • Monday to Friday before 7 am and after 11 pm*
  • Weekends and public holidays before 9 am and after 11 pm.*

*Air conditioning noise is exempt from the residential noise regulations during a heat
health alert.

Noise from commercial and industrial premises

To report noise from fixed plant and equipment at a commercial or industrial premises, contact EPA Victoria.

Noise from businesses delivering and collecting goods

Under Merri-bek General Local Law 2018 (DOC 622Kb), the delivery of goods from one business to another business within residential zones can occur (without a special permit) during the following times: 

  • Monday to Saturday, 7 am - 10 pm 
  • Sunday and public holidays, 9 am - 10 pm.

Businesses wanting to deliver goods outside these times require a permit from Council.

Noise from private entertainment venues

Loud music from entertainment venues can be a problem, especially late at night. State Environment Protection Policy (Control of Music Noise from Public Premises) sets noise limit requirements for noise from entertainment venues.

Compliance with this policy is usually included as a condition in a venue's liquor licence or planning permit.

This policy aims to protect residents from extreme levels of music noise, while recognising the community demand for a wide range of musical entertainment.

Following a report, police have the power under section 48AB of the Environment Protection Act 1970 to instruct a venue to decrease or stop entertainment noise after midnight. These directions stay in force until 8 am.

Noise from Council halls and venues

Council halls and venues are used for community and recreation activities, like dance classes and social group activities. They are also hired out for events, performances and parties.

Some halls and venues, such as town halls, are directly managed by Council. Some are managed by Committees of Management under a leasing arrangement.

Each hall and venue has operating hours and the times when amplified music must end, under the hiring or leasing arrangement. These meet EPA Victoria noise guidelines.

To report noise from a one-off event, please contact Victoria Police. You can also report this noise to Council.

Noise from sporting pavilions and facilities

Sporting clubs using a Council sporting pavilion or facility are responsible for ensuring that all members and guests of the club adhere to the EPA Victoria noise guidelines.

Noise from amplified sound which can be heard outside the premises is prohibited during the following times:

  • Monday to Thursday before 7 am and after 10 pm
  • Friday before 7 am and after 11 pm
  • Saturday and public holidays before 9 am and after 11 pm
  • Sunday before 9 am and after 10 pm

Council also has a requirement that the premises are vacated by 11 pm so that local residents are not disturbed.

To report noise from a one-off event, please contact Victoria Police. You can also report this noise to Council through our Make a noise complaint form.

Noise from intruder alarms

Under Merri-bek General Local Law 2018 (DOC 622Kb), an intruder alarm must not be heard beyond the property boundary 10 minutes after it starts. It must also not be reactivated without being manually reset.

Please make sure any alarms you install at your residence or business meet this requirement.

Noise from animals

Visit Noisy animals and barking dogs.


Restricted times for noise

The following table is from the EPA's web page on Residential noise and the Law, and can be used as a guide to the prohibited times for more specific sources of noise.


Prescribed items

Prohibited times

  • Motor vehicles (but not when entering or leaving a site)
  • Lawnmowers or other grass-cutting devices
  • Any equipment with an internal combustion engine not in group 2

Monday to Friday before 7 am or after 8 pm.

Weekends and public holidays before 9 am or after 8 pm.

  • Electric power tools, chainsaws or circular saws
  • Gas or air compressors
  • Pneumatic power tools, hammers or other impacting tools or grinding equipment

Monday to Friday before 7 am or after 8 pm.

Weekends and public holidays before 9 am or after 8 pm.

  • Home heat pumps
  • Swimming pool, spa or water pumps except when used to fill a heating header tank
  • Home heaters (including central heating and hot water systems)
  • Vacuum cleaners

Monday to Friday before 7 am or after 10 pm.

Weekends and public holidays before 9 am or after 10 pm.

  • An air conditioner, evaporative cooler or split system used for cooling

Monday to Friday before 7 am and after 11 pm.

Weekends and public holidays before 9 am and after 11 pm.

During a heat health alert, you can use your air conditioner at any time.

  • Musical instruments
  • Electric audio goods, including stereos, radios, TVs and public address systems
  • Water pumps being used to fill a header tank (e.g. collecting river or bore water, or moving water between two tanks)

Monday to Thursday before 7 am or after 10 pm.

Friday before 7 am or after 11 pm.

Saturday and public holidays before 9 am or after 11 pm.

Sunday before 9 am or after 10 pm.

  • Electrical goods not in group 2, 3 or 4, including gardening tools
  • Not equipment for personal care or grooming, or for food heating, cooling or preparation

Monday to Friday before 7 am or after 8 pm.

Weekends and public holidays before 9 am or after 8 pm.


How to make a noise complaint

Before reporting a noise complaint, check the types of noise which are considered unreasonable and can be reported to Council.

If the noise is from a residence and is a one-off or infrequent event, such as a party, please contact Victoria Police. Council only investigates ongoing noise issues.

If you are unable to resolve your noise issue with the alleged offender, you can contact Council for further advice. This enables us to determine whether the issue should be resolved by Council. We can also provide some advice on managing the issue.

Report a noise issue through the Council website or contact Council.

Report a noise issue


What happens after Council receives your noise complaint

A Council Officer will conduct an investigation into the noise.

As part of the initial investigation you may be asked to complete a Noise Diary outlining details of the noise and impacts it is having on you. If this is the case, the Noise Diary will be forwarded to you as part of the initial complaint discussion.

Depending on the nature of the issue, the investigation may take several weeks or months and you will be informed of the outcomes of this investigation.

Council Officers may also work with the alleged offending property to try to resolve the situation by offering suggestions on how to reduce noise to an acceptable level.



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