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Demanding our Human Rights to Quiet

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Policy Recommendations:

1. All states need to have rules prescribing a maximum of 5dB upside to ADR 83 for all vehicles manufactured from 2008 onwards.

2. For all vehicles manufactured from 2008 onwards, the rules should be proactively enforced by a specialised unit within the state police force, or by another body if police have no interest in enforcing the rules.

3. NSW has an EPA website where noisy vehicles can be efficiently reported by the public for follow up. All other states should follow this lead.

Why?                          (Please note that all Policy Recommendations are provisional and subject to finalisation and approval by NWA Committee.)



The main problem here are deliberately modified exhausts on vehicles, either through purchase of non-compliant after-market exhaust systems or simply through tampering, such as knocking out muffler baffles. This is done purely for the purpose of increasing noise levels, a seemingly pleasurable activity for some members of the community who clearly have no consideration for the disruptive effects on everyone else. The low frequency noise created travels further than normal noise and cannot be effectively reduced by barriers.

The good news in Australia is that the Commonwealth Government has introduced new laws, referred to as ADR 83/00, reducing the noise levels of new on-road vehicles. The laws appear fairly complicated, partly due to the 4 year phase in period from 2005 to 2008, but the upshot is that all new on-road vehicles will be subject to lower noise emission limits than in the past.

There are 3 main problems with ADR 83/00 - firstly it only applies to new cars, so it will take quite some time for the effects to become noticeable. Secondly, it doesn't apply to off-road vehicles. Thirdly and most importantly, it doesn't prevent people from modifying the exhausts of their vehicles - the State Governments need to have separate laws to prevent this and to maintain emissions within 5 decibels of initial noise levels. To view the NSW legislation, go to

If you live in NSW you can make a complaint to the EPA via the internet at Excellent information is available for viewing at has provided a great model of how the problem of deliberate noisy exhausts could be tackled, both legislatively and in practice - other states would do well to follow their lead.

View the ADR83 rules: Volume 1     Volume 2     Volume 3       Volume 4


Road Vehicle Stories

Adelaide sleep researcher upset over noise from O-Bahn roadworks to take legal action 4/4/2016 ABC

Bunbury Mail 151021EatEaton residents won't be silenced on Forrest Highway noise issue

Eaton residents won't be silenced on Forrest Highway noise issue 21/10/2015 Bunbury Mail

2Loud - Community Mapping of Exposure to traffic noise with mobile phones 12th June 2014 Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

§   "Fresh thinking in action, building partnerships with direction, and outcomes for all who want to see a safer and healthier community." Noise Watch Australia Press Release 28th May 2010

That is our assessment of Operation "Pipedown" initiated by Senior Constable Arthur Makridis of the Victorian Police department. Most impressive was his willingness to connect excessive noise with hearing loss, and social impact. Road trauma from poor vehicle exhaust systems is insidious.

Noisy machines are everywhere in our community. The cost of it runs into billions of dollars every year. This was the message delivered by CRC Health at Melbourne University when they commissioned Access Economics to report on the cost of hearing loss in 2006; ( Link no longer works) It portrays the fact that deafness is inducing noise tolerance to levels that are simply not tolerable. In 2010 we challenge our public Authorities not to ignore the simple economics of such harm.

Gary Goland of Noise Watch Australia relates a message from so many who are disturbed by noise. "We need Governments across Australia to engage unwanted and harmful noise through a range of regulatory actions to lift compliance. To firstly tackle better noise management where the community points to bad management. For frontline discipline to be led by Police, instead of poorly trained and resourced Council and EPA environment staff, just lumped with compliance responsibility. The Police could partnership these people in training programs too. Noise is costing our community a bomb in social unrest. More than the $billions identified by Access Economics. It is causing people so much stress that makes them sick.",

"It is time we had national action to deliver the sort of results the Victorian Police achieved by picking up the EPA law and putting it into action." The Victorian Police seen 2,226 EPA notices issued in just 9 days. Potentially generating over a $Million for the Government. EPA staff had lots of overtime to process the notices. The campaign gave companies and workers in the motorbike and vehicle business, service jobs that have been outstanding for way too long. Just as importantly, it delivered to communities around Melbourne some relief from the trauma and stress excessive noise generates.

Only when this sort of activity utilises the legislation sitting on the shelf, will Government gain respect from the community for noise compliance. We are sick of acknowledgement letters from Ministerial Offices. They have taken us nowhere in the past decade, while noise mapping programs in Europe have been identifying sources of improvement, and combined with compliance necessity, reduced unwanted noise and stress in their communities.

NWA challenge Australian Governments to deliver Policy Performance Reform. "Make it happen, and make it stick." Give regulatory staff tools and training programs to engage noise issues and the bullies in our community. "Put noise switches onto red light and speed cameras already widely distributed, and put noise pollution in the frame." Use the technology approved and delivered by the National Transport authority more than 5 years ago.

Fantastic to hear the Victorian Police will conduct more "Operation Pipedown programs! They want to hand out well done notices to motorists, but where noisy vehicles dominate the area, they will deliver huge fines. Boom boom cars and motorbikes should have been confined to the history books decades ago. We need recognition of the stress and helplessness noise delivers to so many in our community. Noise is not a cheap emotional high many yearn for. It has real cost.


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