Benjamin Preiss writes in The Age "An apparent turf war has erupted over the right to cremate the state's bodies, with some private funeral operators wanting Victoria to follow other states and allow them to build and operate crematoriums."
In Victoria only non-profit cemetery trusts, which are government regulated, can conduct cremations, meaning a cremation can cost more than double the amount charged in other states and some Victorian funeral homes have been sending bodies interstate to be cremated.
One funeral company director said the lowest cost of a cremation in Melbourne was about $800, while there were options in South Australia for less than $400.
The controversy arose last year when the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, which manages eight cemeteries, called for expressions of interest to provide mortuary services at its Bunurong Memorial Park in Dandenong South.
Australian Funeral Directors Association national president John Fowler said allowing cemeteries to encroach on the services of funeral directors would create an unfair market.
"We have to have the opportunity to compete with them by having our own crematoria. We think that's reasonable," he said.