Department of Health

Key messages

  • Under certain circumstances, cemetery trusts and other managers of Crown land are exempt from requirements under the Fences Act 1968.

The requirements regarding the establishment and replacement of cemetery fences are set out under the Fences Act 1968, not the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003.

Generally, owners of adjoining land must contribute in equal shares to a dividing fence unless one party wants to pay the difference for a fence of a higher standard. However, cemetery trusts (as managers of unalienated Crown land) are exempt from this requirement under s. 31 of the Fences Act.

This means a cemetery trust is not liable to make any contribution towards fencing works for any dividing fence requested by the adjoining landowner. Similarly, the cemetery trust cannot require the neighbouring landowner to contribute to fencing works initiated by the cemetery trust. Whichever party commences the works will be liable for the fencing costs.

Despite the absence of a legal obligation to do so, cemetery trusts may choose to contribute towards costs for construction or other works to dividing fences. Choosing to contribute funds may help the cemetery trust if it has preferred design characteristics for the fence (for example height, width, or material).

It should be noted that where a cemetery trust has leased or provided a licence over any public cemetery land, then the exemption under s. 31 of the Fences Act does not extend to the person to whom the lease or licence has been provided to. This means the person will need to comply with the Fences Act and contribute to the cost of fencing works.

Reviewed 13 June 2024


Contact details

Hours: Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Cemetery Sector Governance Support GPO Box 4057, Melbourne, VIC 3001

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