What changes to noise complaint regulations mean for Newcastle

This month changes to noise complaint regulations were implemented by the state stage government. But what do they mean for Newcastle and its night-time economy?

The reforms introduced several key measures, including the “Order of Occupancy” principle, which will now be a central consideration in disturbance complaints.

This rule favours the party that established their premises first, preventing new residents from imposing restrictions on established venues.

In theory, this change means people who move next door to established venues won’t be able to make noise complaints that shut down the live music venues that make the area a great place to live in the first place.

“The old NSW sport of moving in next to a music venue and complaining until it gets shut down, is now history. That era is coming to an end,” Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy John Graham said.

Additionally, the process for managing noise complaints will be streamlined, with Liquor & Gaming NSW becoming the lead regulator. This simplification aims to make the complaint process more efficient and transparent.

Another chance of the regulation has raised the threshold for making a statutory disturbance complaint from three to five people. And the people who make the complaints must come from different households or businesses. These people will also have to demonstrate that they’ve made the effort to resolve any issues directly with the licensee.

This change is expected to reduce frivolous complaints and foster better communication between residents and venues.

“For the better part of a decade, we had a regulatory system and operating environment in NSW that stymied live performance,” NSW 24-Hour Economy Commissioner Michael Rodrigues said.

“It made it incredibly difficult for venues to deliver live entertainment programs as part of their offerings. It meant artists, musos and comedians lost stages on which to play. It’s been a tough lesson to learn from but from it, learn we must.”

While it’s early days, many in the local live music community and venue owners are hopeful this will be one of the boosts the industry so urgently needs.

For more information about the reforms, and the Venues Unlocked Program visit