Wild dog fence going off into the distance

NSW Wild Dog Fence Extension project

February 2023

The NSW Government has committed to extending the NSW Border Wild Dog Fence (commonly known as the dog fence) by up to 790 km. The commitment comes following a feasibility study (first published January 2019) that was commissioned by the Border Fence Maintenance Board and funded by Local Land Services.

The study determined there would be considerable benefits to be had by extending the fence by up to 440 km in the east adjacent to Mungindi and up to 350 km in the south to just short of the Murray River. The existing NSW dog fence is approximately 583 km in length and erected along parts of the NSW/Queensland border and NSW/South Australian border.

How will the project benefit landholders and communities in Western NSW?

Wild dogs significantly impact on livestock and native animals and restrict production options in many areas. The economic impact of wild dogs has been estimated to be up to $111 million per annum nationwide, with up to $22 million of this cost attributed to NSW.

The impact of wild dogs in Western NSW is mitigated by the current dog fence. The extension of the dog fence will be a game changer for primary producers in Western NSW, while also generating a number of flow-on benefits for local communities and throughout NSW.

Additionally, the project will deliver:

  • social and environmental benefits including employment
  • reduce psychological stress for landholders
  • address animal welfare concerns
  • benefits for biodiversity.

The extended fence will also provide an important barrier for biosecurity and emergency animal disease purposes, including any potential foot and mouth or lumpy skin disease outbreaks.

What is the current status of the NSW Wild Dog Fence Extension Project?

Despite being a large-scale and complex infrastructure project in some of the most remote and isolated areas in Australia, the NSW Wild Dog Fence Extension Project has made substantial progress in a number of areas including:

  • mapping of the proposed fence alignment
  • assessments for biodiversity and cultural heritage
  • procurement of a materials panel and construction panel, both of which involve businesses from Western and regional NSW
  • engagement with local landholders and stakeholders, including the Aboriginal community
  • construction of a 15km priority pilot site.

While considerable progress has been made, the project has faced a number of unforeseen and unpreceded challenges which has caused delays. These challenges include but aren’t limited to:

  • COVID-19 and all associated impacts
  • floods, severe weather events and ongoing wet conditions
  • drought
  • identifying the approvals pathway
  • the complexity of the approvals process
  • identifying and exploring biodiversity offset opportunities
  • the need for further assessments for biodiserity and Aboriginal cultural heritage following initial assessments.

The project is continuing work on the approvals process for both the NSW and Queensland and NSW and South Australian alignments. Being such a large project involving the Commonwealth government, three state governments and their departments, many landholders, community members and stakeholders, the approvals are very complex and as a result, take considerable time to work through.

The project must receive the required approvals before construction can commence.

As the approvals are contingent on other government departments and jurisdictions and involve many factors that remain fluid, it is difficult to give an approximate date for when the project will receive the required approvals.

What can landholders in Western NSW do to manage the impacts of wild dogs?

Local Land Services works with landholders and stakeholders to control wild dogs and mitigate their impacts on livestock, native animals, the local environment and industry. Landholders are encouraged to join their local pest animal group and participate in seasonal baiting programs for wild dogs, as well as undertaking other control activities including trapping and monitoring.

Landholders are encouraged to contact their local Biosecurity Officer via 1300 795 299 to discuss options for wild dog control and management.

Visit our Wild dogs page for more information.

Resources and further information

A number of resources have been developed to inform stakeholders, answer some general questions, and provide updates on the project:

If you’d like further information about the project or would be interested in organising a meeting with the project team, contact:

Phone: (02) 5852 1215 (Mon-Fri during business hours)Email: wilddogfence@scs.nsw.gov.au

Related information