Noise restriction reform for Sydney music venues proposed by city council

Existing music venues would be protected from noise complaints

Reforms to noise restrictions designed to protect Sydney’s established live music venues are set to be voted on by the city council before the end of this month.

Previously, music venues in the city were forced to adapt to the noise demands of any new residential development in the surrounding area, which may have required them to host fewer shows, reduce their volume or even shutter altogether.

The new “Fair Management of Entertainment Sound” proposal would see the responsibility of managing the impacts of sound be instead placed on any new developments within 50 metres of an existing venue.


By the same token, this also means any venue expansion or new venue built would then have the same responsibility of managing “unacceptable sound impacts” to existing residents.

“We know that venue owners and managers want more certainty when presenting live music and performance, but also that residents who live in the city deserve a bit of peace and quiet – these planning changes will provide greater certainty for both venues and residents, encouraging entertainment while supporting communities,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.


A graph of the entertainment sound management proposal
A visualisation of the new Fair Entertainment Sound Management proposal, taken from the Open and Creative report to the Transport, Heritage and Planning Committee.

The new proposed reforms would also allow smaller cultural activities such as film, performance, talks, seminars and community events to go ahead in existing businesses of all kinds, without a development application.

“We want to see cultural activity in unexpected locations – stand-up comedy in bookshops, or live music in hairdressing salons. And we want to make it easier for our businesses, from hardware stores to grocers, to be able to open later if they’d like to,” Moore said.


NME Australia has contacted Live Performance Australia for comment and will update this story if and when we receive a response.

The new reforms, packaged together as Open and Creative Planning Reforms and the Draft Sydney Development Control Plan, will considered by the Transport, Heritage and Planning Committee on June 22, before a vote by the City of Sydney council takes place on June 29. They will subsequently be forwarded to the NSW government.

Read the proposed reforms in full here.

It follows the removal of Sydney’s lockout laws in January of this year, intended to revitalise the city’s beleaguered nighttime economy.