Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 15 Hansard (Thursday, 10 December 2009) . . Page.. 5826 ..
(7) What penalty provisions exist for home owners who fail to turn off faulty home alarms.
Mr Corbell: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
(1) Environment Protection Officers are authorised Officers under the Environment Protection Act 1997. Part 11 of the Act details the powers of an authorised officer, being section 96, Entry of premises. Under this section Officers may enter premises, other than residential premises, at any reasonable time for the purpose of ascertaining whether the Act is being complied with. Officers may only enter residential premises with the consent of the occupier or a person apparently in charge of the premises.
Section 97 of the Act grants an Officer powers to enter a premises under a search warrant, however an Officer may only do the following:
• inspect or examine;
• take measurements or conduct tests;
• take samples;
• take photos.
This provision would not permit Officers to interfere with a house alarm.
(2) There are no provisions or regulations that authorise Officers to require security companies to turn off faulty house alarms.
(4) Yes, while there are no specific provisions or regulations to enable EPA Officers to direct security companies to disable faulty house alarms, this will be considered as part of the review of the Environment Protection Act which is due to commence in 2010.
(5) (a) 2006-07 - 1,057 noise complaints received of which 4 concerned house alarms.
(b) 2007-08 – 1,389 noise complaints received of which 3 concerned house alarms.
(c) 2008-09 – 1,896 noise complaints received of which 5 concerned house alarms.
(6) There are five Environment Protection Officers who respond to complaints during business hours. One Environment Protection Officer is on call after hours.
(7) For a first time complaint, an Environment Protection Officer will send out a letter advising the alleged noise producer of their responsibility under the Environment Protection Act 1997 and invite them to discuss the matter. In most cases the matter is resolved at this stage. Following this, if another complaint is received, the EPA will take a noise measurement to validate the complaint and if the complaint is validated a warning letter is issued. If another complaint is received, the EPA will take a noise measurement to validate the complaint, if validated an on the spot fine may be issued. The fine is $200 for a person or $1,000 for a company. This is consistent with the Enforcement Policy in the Authority’s, General Environment Protection Policy of August 2007. To date the EPA has not served a warning letter or infringement notice for a faulty house alarm.