TASMANIAN LAW processes GENERAL NOISE under the provisions of the ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AND POLLUTION CONTROL ACT 1994 (The EMPCA) and its section 53 defines Noise offences, most of which are mechanically produced. However, dog barking is usually the Noise most complained about. Perhaps because barking is produced biologically it is excluded from the EMPCA. Barking offences are addressed in the DOG CONTROL ACT 2000 where its section 46 defines the offence. On-the spot Infringement Notices under each Act may be written by "authorised persons." The penalty is currently $260 under each Act. This identical amount implies that Parliament deemed that both noise disturbances were comparable in nuisance value. However, the differences in each Act about the definition of what actually constitutes the nuisance in each case is very stark indeed. The anomaly is extreme. Here is how Noise Nuisance is defined in the EMPCA: 53. Offence of causing environmental nuisance (2)  A person who unlawfully causes an environmental nuisance is guilty of an offence. Penalty: Fine not exceeding 100 penalty units. (A penalty unit is currently $130) (3)  Where an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is constituted by the emission of noise that is not an emission specified in an environment protection policy to be an environmental nuisance, the emission is to be taken to unreasonably interfere with a person's enjoyment of the environment if it is unreasonable having regard to – (a) its volume, intensity or duration; and (b) the time, place and other circumstances in which it is emitted; and (c) in the case of noise emitted from residential premises, whether it is, or is likely to be, audible in a habitable room in any other residential premises. An inital proof of this offence may be obtained through the complaint's investigation by "an authorised person" who may determine, either by entry or from a distance, if the alleged noise is invading "habitable rooms." That authorised person is empowered to write an Infringement Notice on the spot. ---o0o--- The situation is starkly different when the noise offence is due to barking. Here is the definition of Barking Nuisance under the Dog Control Act 2000: Dogs creating nuisance 46. (2) The occupier of any premises must not permit a dog to be, become or create a nuisance on those premises. Penalty: Fine not exceeding 5 penalty units. (3) A dog is a nuisance if – (a) it behaves in a manner that is injurious or dangerous to the health of any person; or (b) it creates a noise, by barking or otherwise, that persistently occurs or continues to such an extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any premises or public place. Complaints relating to nuisance 47. (1) A person may make a complaint to the general manager in respect of a dog that is a nuisance. (2) A complaint is to – (a) be in an approved form; and (b) be accompanied by any appropriate fee; and (c) state the nature of the nuisance. Investigation of complaint 48. (1) On receipt of a complaint, the general manager is to investigate the subject matter of the complaint. (2) If the general manager considers that the complaint has substance, the general manager – (a) may institute proceedings for an offence under section 46; and (b) is to refund the fee that accompanied the complaint to the complainant. There is an extreme rigmarole imposed on the barking complainant and to add insult to injury he must pay a fee to his council to secure its legal compulsion to investigate the matter. Is there any other circumstance wherein an assaulted person must pay a fee to initiate an enquiry? Councils detest barking complaints because of the proof requirments imposed upon them in the extremely awkward circumstances of neighbourhood barking wherein the animal’s noise emissions are usually random and intermittent and often occur nocturnally when no council staff are available. Some councils have raised the Barking Complaint fee to prohibitive levels to ensure that complaints are minimised! ---o0o--- What is urgently needed is a rewrite of s.46 of the Dog Control Act to incorporate the defining and detection efficiencies already extant in the EMPCA wherein an authorised person, hearing the offending noise under the same circumstances that you do, can issue an Infringement Notice immediately