NSW has a long history of setting aside significant areas of land for public cemeteries to ensure that the right to a dignified burial is afforded to all members of the community. Today as in the past, cemeteries across the state provide services to help all religious and cultural groups honour and farewell their loved ones. Over the last two decades it has become apparent that a coordinated, strategic approach to planning and management of cemeteries in NSW is required to address a critical shortage of burial space and to ensure the full range of interment options is accessible and affordable to everyone.

Diminishing cemetery space is the most pressing issue driving the Government's cemetery reforms. Land acquisition for cemeteries and crematoria, especially in development corridors, is an essential part of addressing the issue. This must be accompanied by more sustainable burial practices to extend the life of existing cemeteries.

PHASE 1 – RESTRUCTURE OF THE CROWN CEMETERY SECTOR

In March 2012, the NSW Government approved a reform program related to the management of cemeteries and crematoria on Crown, local government and private land in NSW. Phase one of the program involved a major restructure of the Crown cemetery sector that has led to more streamlined and cost effective management, strengthened governance, increased transparency and more accountable financial and operational systems. As a result of this process, there are now four major Crown cemetery trusts, led by professional boards, which manage cemeteries on Crown land in the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Area.

To read the full article go to the Department of Primary Industries website.