The detrimental impact of Noise in our lives is increasing to such an extent that some of us eventually
become obliged to relocate. Assaults and deaths (and in the USA particularly, murders) are increasing as
noise-impacted victims lash out in frustration, particularly when their entirely reasonable complaints are
ignored by the relevant authorities, as is common. It behoves all governments to intervene
prophylactically, nowso more than ever before.
Statistics show that the worst noise is commonly that from barking dogs. This invasive din is not properly
addressed by councils who want nothing to do with it. They commonly implement their defiance of
Parliament's intention by refusing to support their Animal Control Officers when prosecutions are justified.
Councils don't want any adverse consequences (such as financial penalties or loss of face) should their
prosecutions fail. These ACOs won't defy the underlying culprit, the council manager, because they know
where their pay packet comes from.
A classic example of this is defiance of duty is a Grindelwald's pensioner six year battle with the West
Tamar Council to effect relief from ongoing night torments. That council now perennially ignores her and
has the audacity to swipe all her Complaint fees. It declares her complaints "have no substance" which is
the only lawful justification permitting the fees' retention. This elderly lady has had to sleep on her kitchen
floor to minimise the invasive din from dogs let out at night for toileting, and which then bark at the
plentiful surrounding wildlife. She has documented her case very well, but nobody in officialdom helps
her resolve it.
All police officers have the same powers as councils under the Dog Control Act 2000 but they have been
ordered from above not to use them. The DCA 2000 was devised by a Labour government and, to its credit,
it did a pretty good job. It will be no use asking the Premier's department's Mr Peter Morrow to comment
on this email as he always declares the Act is "working well." I suspect that it probably is, but not in
This dereliction of simple duty by the main two appointed enforcement bodies leaves noise victims
distressed for years on end. An extreme example of this was a recent case in Glenorchy which took its
slack and uncaring council six years to resolve! At court, the recalcitrant offender was eventually ordered
to pay that council $35,000 for its accumulated costs in gathering proof etc. Other costs related to the
matter were estimated by the complainant, a retired police inspector, to bring the total bill to $50,000. This
complainant has recently informed me of his belief that this sum has been paid. The court had put a
charge of some kind over his property so he could not evade the costs or the fines.
For six years this tormented complainant and his family, and his neighbours, had to endure severe barking
problems from across the road that the Act allows to be resolved in one hour!
One of the major problems that must be addressed is that councils are not answerable to anyone, and
have become unchallenged fiefdoms. The Department of Local Government has been found to be useless,
as has the Ombudsman's office. Dog-law enforcement evidently hinges on each council manager's
I believe that you recently announced that the latest version of the Government's Noise Policy would be
available later this year. I expect this will be as useless as previous attempts - because the crux of Noise
issues is never addressed.
The crux is this: Noise impacts on the human psyche - not the Environment. The adverse health effects of
Noise can be terrible. I urge you to accept that Noise is an Assault and I herewith attach my article
(Barking Assault) supporting this reality, one that the police reject because they don't want to face it, and
the attendant increase in their workload.
I therefore now want the Government to take Noise from its Environmental location, which
doesn't want it, and allocate it to the Department of Health, which also doesn't want it.
On behalf of the Noise-afflicted I want the government to dictate that the Director of Health
must take it on whether he fancies the task or not. I've been at his department for years to
do this, but its employees have painted themselves with grease and always dodge the issue.
In official evaluations of the detrimental impact of Noise the only measured parameters taken are its
intensity and duration. For intermittent noise such as that from barking this quantitive evaluation presents
Permitting legal time slots for barking has failed, eg the impractical and ridiculous six minutes per hour
trials in Queensland. South Australia's Onkaparinga council, and some others, are trialling an electronic
Bark Counting Collar devised in Melbourne. This collar is fitted for ten days, is not removable, and it
counts the woofs against time. It entirely ignores the effects of the din upon the recipient. Cunning owners
will predictably let Uncle Jim in the bush mind the dog for 10 days.
Transient noise is elusive. It does its harm, then moves on at 340 metres per second.
In my Noise enquiries I've come to realise that the psychological impact of Noise often greatly exceeds the
volume of noise producing it. An extreme example of this (one that's not uncommon) is when a person
who has been harrassed by unrelieved barking for years on end becomes afflicted with what I term ANDS
(Anticipated Noise Distress Syndrome) and is woken at night by as little as just one woof from the dog
down the road from his residence. It then takes him four hours to get back to sleep. The potentially
disastrous effects of sleep deprivation upon some elements of the workforce are terrible to contemplate.
As an example, please consider those in charge of trucks, buses and planes.
As I have the benefit of a design background in electronic engineering, with its strong maths component,
and as I obtained the New Zealand Certificate in Science (in Physics) while working there for its
government in the late 70's designing scientific instrumentation for field use, I've had a go at producing a
Basic Equation whose parameters include both the volume of Noise and the psychological effects of it
upon the recipient. I enclose a preliminary draft of this basic equation and a brief description of the
reasoning behind it.
The first major step in advancing this concept is for you to appoint an investigative authority to enquire
and evaluate it. I suggest that this could (and probably should) be the University of Tasmania. The role of
the professional psychologists (and statisticians) in such an evaluation would be paramount. With the
written support of the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Will Hodgman, I tried privately to motivate this enquiry
several years ago but Professor Kate Warner and the Board declined the opportunity on a specious and
wholly irrelevant pretext.
Yes, it's a fair bet that that each Board member owned dogs!
The University's role would be to discern the various elements of Noise (eg its Nature, its compounding
effect upon the already health-afflicted, the recipient's Vulnerability, and the varying sensitivities due to
the times of each noise emission) and evaluate the psychological effects of them on the human psyche.
Once these weightings are processed and an average is estimated then the matter would go to Parliament
for the concept to be further evaluated and for its trial approval of the various weightings suggested by the
My basic Equation would then, for each complaint, have all its elements and parameters filled in by the
complainant and then be mathematically processed by his council. The result after evaluation would be a
single figure which I currently call the Noise Index. A simplified version of the Basic Equatoin could allow
the complainant at home to produce his own NI, one that would let him know if he might have a fair case
That Noise Index value will decide whether a council is compelled to act, or not compelled. If the NI
exceeds a listed value then intervention must be mandatory.
I've mentioned other ideas in the attachment for the Basic Equation.
I invite your earnest attention to this subject. Please keep me informed.
This letter to the Minister for Health, Ms Lara Giddings, was sent 15th July, 2008
Mr Giddings passed it the Ms Michelle O'Byrne MP, Minister for the Environment.
On 16th December Ms O'Byrne responded to the effect
that Noise will remain with Environment