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New legislation secures future for Catholic Cemeteries

By July 1, 2024No Comments

After a decade of concerted effort, crucial legislation was passed on 21 June 2024 by the NSW parliament that ensures the future of Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria as a charitable cemetery operator.

This means Catholic Cemeteries can continue to provide affordable, equitable and accessible burial and cremation services to Sydneysiders of all cultural and religious backgrounds.

The Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria Trust Bill, introduced by Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper was aimed at implementing the two-operator model for the Crown cemeteries sector, with the other operator the state-controlled Metropolitan Memorial Parks.

The legislation provides certainty and clarifies the purpose of Catholic Cemeteries as providing burials for all and addresses the growing burial space pressures being felt by many of Sydney’s faith groups.

Kamper who has successfully bought the mater to a conclusion said of the bill “The two Crown cemetery operators will ensure continued quality burial and cremation services for our communities.”

“We are getting on with fixing the cemeteries sector, strengthening the industry regulator to be a solid cop on the beat and ensuring there are strong consumer protections for people at a very vulnerable time.”

Catholic Cemeteries CEO, Lauren Hardgrove said the law marks the end of almost a decade of indecision and uncertainty for the organisation, which received more than 30 letters of support from major faith groups on the bill.

“We’ve been operating in this space for more than a hundred years for the people of Sydney, and this legislation doesn’t change that,” she said.

“This ensures that our successor entity continues to operate as a charitable cemetery operator in this space, providing services not only for Catholics, but those of all faiths and those of none,”

Hardgrove said the organisation is now “Looking forward, we can focus on our new cemetery we’re building at Macarthur Memorial Park, to open in April next year.”

The memorial park is the first Crown cemetery to be developed in Sydney for almost 80 years, with 136,00 burial spaces for all cultural groups and 35 hectares of public green space with peaceful walking tracks, lakes, a cafe and boardwalks.

Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria operates not-for-profit cemeteries at Rookwood, North Rocks, Liverpool and Kemps Creek.

Nearly 20,000 people signed the Save Our Graves petition in 2021 which Deputy CEO, Damian Furlong said at the time “showed the former government loud and clear that religious groups have a role to play in honouring the dead and caring for those who’ve lost a loved one.”

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