Dividing Fences

As with all construction within the Town site a building permit is required for the construction of a fence, including a dividing fence. Further information, along with the relevant application form and checklist identifying hte required supporting information is below:

INFO 12 Fencing

BA2 - Application for Building Permit - Uncertified

BA2 - Checklist for Application for Building Permit - Uncertified - Fence

Outside of building permits, dividing fences are managed under the Dividing Fences Act 1961, which sets out the allowances and requirements when constructing or repairing a dividing fence. The Act sets out requirements for payment of costs, notifications to affected neighbours, and dispute resolutions. It is important to note that the Dividing Fences Act 1961 is a civil act, and does not grant the local government any powers. The local government therefore cannot assist in dividing fence matters, other than issuing the required building permits.

A dividing fence is under the Act defined as a fence that separates the land of different owners whether the fence is on the common boundary of adjoining lands or in a line other than the common boundary. A dividing fence does not include a retaining wall.

A "sufficient fence" is:

  1. A fence prescribed by a local government local law;
  2. A fence of any standard agreed upon by adjoining owners that it does not fall below the standard prescribed by the relevant local government law;
  3. A substantial fence that is ordinarily capable of resisting the trespass of cattle and sheep; or
  4. A fence determined by a magistrate in a magistrates' court to be a sufficient fence.

Note: A fence which accords with (3) or (4) is only a sufficient fence where no local law or agreement is made.

The Town of Port Hedland does not have a Local Law pertaining to Dividing Fences.

The Act provides that both the adjoining property owners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the dividing fence. The exception is when privately owned land is abutting a lot or reserve owned by the crown i.e. Commonwealth, State or Local Government.

Should a dispute arise between adjoining land owners in relation to a dividing fence or further information be required, clarification on the Dividing Fences Act 1961 can be obtained from the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.