Urban Sounds – ACT

In 2015, MusicACT and the Live Music Office delivered a 25-point action plan to the ACT Government, Cool Little Capital. Many of the actions from this plan were also included in the direction of the Urban Sounds Discussion Paper, with the ACT Government undertaking a consultation period between 2 August and 23 September 2016.

The Urban Sounds Discussion Paper invited the community and related industries to consider how the planning framework could cater for everyday noise from restaurants, licensed premises, music venues and one-off events in mixed-use areas. Mixed-use areas refer to spaces where residences are located together with businesses, entertainment venues and services.

The discussion paper sought community input on how the ACT planning and regulatory framework could support a range of activities where there is potential for conflict between venues and residents such as events and music in mixed-use areas. The aim was to maintain a balance between the needs of different users.

The Urban Sounds Discussion Paper tabled the following 11 options to progress to enhance the planning framework:

  1. Establish special precincts in central locations that cater for activities and events with higher noise levels.
  2. Establish entertainment only precincts/hubs that promote and facilitate events and entertainment.
  3. Strengthen existing development controls to increase noise attenuation requirements for residential and commercial buildings.
  4. Order of occupancy principles are not explicitly considered under current act legislation, however, the principles are applied through territory plan codes and the development assessment process.
  5. Develop a targeted compliance and enforcement framework to ensure compliance with conditions of approval relating to noise management.
  6. Amend noise standards within some commercial zones to enable more activities and events.
  7. Publish information sheets and checklists making potential buyers and commercial operators aware of the increased noise permitted in mixed-use areas.
  8. Consider reform to require information to be provided to buyers about noise before purchase of a property.
  9. Work with the NCA to develop standard procedures for noise management plans across all mixed-use areas, including designated areas.
  10. Strengthen liquor licences for potentially noisy premises.
  11. Review the territory plan to achieve a more strategic approach to locating active frontages.