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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3522..

MR WOOD (continuing):

to the construction or refurbishment of building or other structures to limit the passage of noise. Noise attenuation can be introduced to a music venue to prevent noise escaping, or to another space such as a restaurant or apartment complex to prevent noise entering.

Environment ACT primarily deals with noise regulation in the ACT. Noise from live entertainment is currently the cause of relatively few complaints in the ACT. However, more complaints are expected as residential density increases in our urban centres. The majority of noise complaints relate to barking dogs, air-conditioning or heating units, home stereos and municipal services. Members of the Assembly should be aware of the conundrum of the government being pressured on the one hand to provide protection from bad noises and being pressured on the other hand to be more accepting of good noise, such as that from live music.

Under the Liquor Act the Department of Justice and Community Safety has some residual responsibility in regard to the loss of amenity from licensed premises, essentially from people spilling out onto the street and causing loss of amenity. The Liquor Act stipulates that licensees are responsible for taking steps to ensure that public amenity is not affected by their business. In 2001 complaints regarding a range of noise sources in Civic led the ACT government to develop a discussion paper entitled "The Civic Noise Project."

As a result of issues raised in that paper and in the context of changing community expectations, the government will produce a fact sheet on issues relating to noise from entertainment venues; explore appropriate avenues to assist venue operators to develop their expertise in managing noise; explore the benefits of legislative change to extend the time for maximum daily noise levels in Civic and town centres from 10.00 pm to a later time on Friday and Saturday nights and for special events; and Environment ACT and ACTPLA will finalise the review of methods used to measure noise in response to complaints that have been received to ensure that noise attenuation in buildings is taken into account.

Noise attenuation in the construction of new or refurbished buildings is the responsibility of ACTPLA through a number of processes, including its role in enforcing the building code, assessing development approvals, approving variations to allowable uses and approving fit-outs under existing leases. ACTPLA is currently developing an integrated approach to noise attenuation to ensure that planning and building practices are adequate to preserve amenities, cultural vibrancy and the viabilities of our city's businesses as residential density increases.

The final issue that was raised by the Assembly and the music sector forum relates to the viability and diversity of venues. Live music and the venues where it is performed are often seen as interlinked. Live music venues provide spaces to experience live music, nurture performers and audiences and contribute to a city's live music scene. The live music sector in the ACT is resilient in the face of an almost cyclical ebb and flow of good venues. Individual venues may become a symbolic focus for live music for a time but they do not last forever. Many factors contribute to the success or failure of live music venues. However, often they are not huge money-spinners and require careful business management.

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