State Barrier Fence overview

Page last updated: Wednesday, 26 August 2020 - 6:50pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Western Australia's State Barrier Fence plays an important role in preventing animal pests such as wild dogs from moving into the State's agricultural areas from pastoral areas in the east. The fence is a state asset set within a 20 metre reserve, which is managed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).


WARNING: It is illegal for the general public to travel on the track that runs alongside Western Australia’s State Barrier Fence. Only authorised vehicles are permitted. There are surveillance cameras in place to record unauthorised vehicles, which could face a $10,000 fine. Travel is only allowed on roads that transect the fence. The fence is a work site, frequented by Licensed Pest Management Technicians using poisons, traps and firearms to control wild dogs, and by DPIRD personnel carrying out maintenance and upgrades.

Extending the State Barrier Fence end point

Construction of extension begins

Following an environmental review period and subsequent approval by the Minister for Environment on 15 April 2019, the construction of the extension of the State Barrier Fence began on 23 May 2019. More information about the review is available from the Environmental Protection Authority.

The first 8.5 kilometres of fence to be constructed will commence at the end of the existing 1190km-long State Barrier Fence near Jerdacuttup.

This initial build will be constructed by DPIRD staff training the Esperance Tjaltjraak Aboriginal Rangers in fencing to build their capacity for future contracting opportunities.


The State Barrier Fence is 1170 km long, extending from the Zuytdorp cliffs north of Kalbarri (in the State’s north) through to Jerdacuttup east of Ravensthorpe (in the State’s south).

The original fences (numbers 1, 2 and 3) were constructed between 1902 and 1907, and were known as the Rabbit Proof Fences, later becoming known as the State Vermin Fence and the Emu Fence.

Initially the fence was used to prevent rabbits from moving into the State from the east. Today, the fence plays an important role in preventing the large migration of emus from the rangelands into the south-west agricultural areas, which can affect grain crops, and the entry of wild dogs into the south-west of Western Australia, which attack livestock.

State Barrier Fence and wild dogs

The State Barrier Fence plays an important role in minimising the impact of wild dogs.

Wild dogs have become a significant threat to livestock enterprises in agricultural areas since the 1980s, with wool in decline and fewer staff in pastoral areas carrying out control.

Landholders are ultimately responsible for controlling wild dogs on their own properties, although the State Barrier Fence is playing an important role in supporting their efforts. The State Government, through the DPIRD, is also supporting landholders through:

  • arrangements with local community groups (matched community/government funding, local baiting coordination etc)
  • deployment of doggers in pastoral areas (trapping, batting and shooting)
  • various upgrade and maintenance State Barrier Fence projects

A number of surveys have shown that the investment in upgrading the fence is having a positive impact on wild dog management.

Ongoing maintenance

Ongoing maintenance is needed to keep the fence functioning as an effective barrier against wild dogs and other vermin. DPIRD staff are responsible for maintenance, which includes minor repairs, replacing fence wires and posts, small fence constructions, re-hanging gates and clearing the fence track.

Contact information

Craig Robins
+61 (0)8 9690 2195