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Environmental and Noise Complaints
Council receives numerous enquiries regarding nuisance complaints and restrictions within the Council area.
Local Government powers under Environmental Protection Regulations are restricted to a nuisance which come from a residential or commercial property unless the property or activity is licensed by another government agency. For example, an environmentally relevant activity that holds a licence with the Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM), is regulated by them.
On receipt of a complaint, Council will write to both parties and inform them of the relevant provisions of the legislation. Fact sheets relevant to nuisance are also provided. If further complaints on the issue are received, officers will inspect and investigate the validity of the complaint.
For council to respond to an environmental nuisance complaint, it must relate to an emission from residential or commercial land not covered by other government agencies. Generally, the complaint can be about any emission, including ash, dust, fumes, noise, odour or smoke.
Gladstone Regional Council has powers under Local Law No. 3 (Community and Environmental Management) 2011 and the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) to regulate fires within the Gladstone Regional Council local government area.
In accordance with Local Law No. 3, the lighting of fires is prohibited within the Gladstone Regional Council local government area unless the fire is lit within a fireplace, barbeque or incinerator and meets the following conditions:
- The fire must not exceed 2 metres in all directions; and
- The fire is lit in an enclosed, properly constructed fireplace that prevents the escape of fire or any burning material from the fire (a fireplace that is constructed of stone, metal, concrete or any other non-flammable material that contain the fire perimeter).
In addition to the requirements under Local Law 3, under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld), residents must ensure that any fire lit within a barbeque or fireplace does not cause a smoke nuisance. Accordingly, Gladstone Regional Council does not endorse backyard burning of green waste, household waste or other significant smoke generating waste in incinerators, barbeques or fireplaces (or by any other prohibited means), as this is likely to create an environmental smoke nuisance.
Household waste should be disposed of through rubbish collection or at your local transfer station or landfill facility. Domestic green waste should not be burnt or disposed of through your household kerbside collection as it is free of charge at selected Transfer Stations and at Benaraby Landfill.
You should be aware that the lighting of fires for any purpose (even if it meets the above requirements) is not permitted during any declared fire ban or state of fire emergency.
Council will investigate complaints of smoke nuisances and fires not meeting the requirements outlined above and may issue infringement notices/fines.
- Noise from loud music, which remains a Police issue.
- Noise from loud parties, which remains a Police issue.
- Noise from vehicles, which remains a Police issue.
- Noise from boats and jet skis are the responsibility of the Department of Environment & Heritage Protection (DEHP).
Making a minor complaint about a neighbour to a State or Local Government agency can often do more harm than good. A little tolerance goes a long way so if possible, discuss your mutual concerns. With all the goodwill in the world, it is acknowledged that there are times when assistance from a third party is necessary.
Noise is unwanted sound - barking dogs, loud music, passing traffic. Everyone reacts differently to noise. What can be unbearable for one person may pass almost unnoticed by another. How annoyed we become depends on the loudness, time, place and frequency of the noise.
What if there's a noise nuisance in my neighbourhood?
In most cases the best way to resolve a noise issue is through polite and productive communication between yourself and the person causing the noise. If you haven't already spoken with the person about the noise, Council strongly recommend you try this approach first.
Another option is to print out the Noise Nuisance Neighbourhood handout, fill in your details (this is optional) and place it in the persons letterbox. If you have concerns about approaching or entering communication with the person, or these measures have proven ineffective, you can report the problem to Council, with the address or the location of the property and we will begin our investigation.
How Council deals with noise nuisance
The Environmental Protection Act 1994 introduced by the State Government includes guidelines for noise nuisances. Council is legally required to enforce these limits when the noise is emitted from premises.
There are factors which will be considered when determining whether a noise nuisance is being caused which include:
- The day of the week and time at which the noise is occurring
- The amount of noise being emitted
- The duration and rate of emission and the noise characteristics, and qualities
- The sensitivity of the environment into which the noise is being emitted and the impact that it has or may have
- Views of any other neighbours or complainants.
Council will investigate a noise nuisance upon receiving a customer request. If the noise is found to be a nuisance, Council may issue the person or business causing the noise with a ‘direction notice' or an on-the-spot fine.
A direction notice details what offence has taken place, and the time frame that the offender has to rectify the problem. If a direction notice is not complied with, Council may then issue an on-the-spot fine. It is important to note that achieving compliance under this process can take in excess of six weeks.
If you have exhausted all of the above options, you can contact the Dispute Resolution Centre. The Centre is a Government provided free mediation and facilitation service, which deals with workplace, family, neighbourhood, commercial, organisational, environmental and multi-party disputes.
Courts Precinct - 46 East Street
(PO Box 542) Rockhampton Qld 4700
Phone: (07) 4938 4249 Fax: (07) 4938 4294
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Gladstone Regional Council
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(07) 4970 0700
8.30am - 5pm Monday to Friday
PO Box 29
Gladstone Qld 4680
Gladstone Regional Council would like to acknowledge the Bailai, Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang and Taribelang Bunda people who are the traditional custodians of this land. Gladstone Regional Council would also like to pay respect to Elders both past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Learn more about Council's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).