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 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.