A new Stakeholder Engagement Council (SEC) has been established to map the future of Sydney’s cemeteries, enlisting 15 community representatives from a broad range of faiths and communities in NSW.
The council includes members of the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindi, Indigenous, Filipino, and Catholic communities (list below), and will report to the board of Catholic Cemeteries & Crematoria.
The first meeting of the council was held on June 23, chaired by community and consumer campaigner Christopher Zinn who has served on the board of the NSW regulator of cemeteries and crematoria.
Mr Zinn said “Our first meeting recognised the urgent need for more burial spaces in Sydney, especially among the fast-growing Muslim population, which like some other faiths, have traditions which require they bury their dead.
“The council is committed to ensure that communities and consumers’ diverse needs and views, regardless of their faith or even lack of it, are catered for in respectful and affordable ways in the process of funerals, burials and cremations”, he added.
The objectives of the SEC include:
- The interment practices and beliefs of all religious and cultural groups are respected equally
- The quality of interment products and services meet community expectations
- And affordable and accessible interment practices are available for all, particularly for those of limited means.
Mr Zinn concluded “We want the SEC to advise and help us better understand how cemetery operators can deliver the best possible experience to families, consumers, cultural and faith groups so we can continue to serve the community now with the Catholic trust’s four existing cemeteries and two more to be developed”.
- Mariam Ardati – Muslim Community
- Rosette Shamoun – Chaldean and Assyrian Community
- Barry Barakat – Catholic Maronite Community
- Darren Bark – Jewish Community
- Peter Murphy – Baptist Community
- Auntie Lisa – Hunter Dharawal Indigenous Community
- Kazi Ali – Muslim Community
- Jhun Salazar – Filipino Community
- Dean Fr John Ho – Catholic, Vietnamese, Polynesian Communities
- Lourdes Kaiser – Filipino Community
- Albert Olley – Uniting Community
- Dominic Niezgoda – Polish Community
- Ayya Suvira – Buddhist Community
- Shefali Pal – Hindu Community
- Dianne Van Aken – Indigenous and Catholic Community
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