State Barrier Fence overview

Page last updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2017 - 7:36pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.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 Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.

Extending the State Barrier Fence end point

Public environmental review period opens

18 December 2017 - 29 January 2018

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) proposes to extend the State Barrier Fence eastwards from its current termination point near Ravensthorpe, extending north around Salmon Gums and terminating east of Esperance near Cape Arid National Park.

An Environmental Review Document (ERD) has been prepared by DPIRD in accordance with Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) procedures and has been released for public review.

The review period opened on 18 December 2017 and closes on 29 January 2018. 

The ERD describes the proposal to extend the State Barrier Fence, and examines the likely environmental effects and the proposed environmental management procedures associated with the proposed development.

For more information, download the ERD or got to Esperance extension update. Submissions can be made via the EPA's consultation website.


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 Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) 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. DAFWA 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