Noise nuisance complaints on licensed premises

Responsible Management of Licensed PremisesThe Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OGLR) tries, where possible, to encourage complainants to contact the licensee or approved manager directly. Sometimes, this is the only indication the licensee has that there is a problem.

Of the approximately 550 complaints about noise that OLGR receives each year, only a small number are genuinely vexatious. Therefore, licensees should make every effort to remedy the situation, or OLGR will take action through licence conditions or orders to end the entertainment which may be combined with prosecution action.

Licensees need to recognise that noise problems can, in some cases, be difficult to substantiate. This does not mean that the complaint is not legitimate. It may result in OLGR investigators providing an after-hours call service for verification.

As an example, an actual case involved two houses on a ridge at Spring Hill which were periodically affected by noise from Fortitude Valley. Residents across the road from the suspect venue were unaffected. Many visits over a number of weeks to the houses failed to confirm the problem and sound checks carried out at the venue appeared satisfactory.

However during an early morning complaint call out, the problem was confirmed. The combination of wind direction and a band with a heavy bass beat meant that sleeping was impossible at the houses. The complaints were substantiated and the noise impact considerable. It was later found that the noise was escaping from the roof and eaves of the venue, and carried directly to the complainants.

Sometimes, reality has to be faced that the building was not meant to contain noise emissions to that level. Resolution may mean:

  • Extensive and costly soundproofing which may not be effective

  • Ceasing the entertainment and varying the focus of the business

  • Finding a more suitable venue

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation will assist in providing general advice to reduce noise issues in and around licensed venues. However, the ultimate responsibility for minimising noise rests with the licensee, and action will be taken if the nuisance continues.

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