The SMH reports NSW planning minister Anthony Roberts has stripped Campbelltown and Penrith councils of powers to decide on two "contentious" applications to build new cemeteries by asking the state's independent planning authority to make a quick and binding recommendation.
The referrals to the Independent Planning Commission follow extensive delays, council opposition and allegations that vested interests compromised the usual process.
The Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust has proposed two non-denominational cemeteries that would provide 224,000 burial spaces, enough to address the current shortage in Western Sydney.
They include Macarthur Memorial Parklands at Varroville near Campbelltown, which has faced continual delays despite getting government approval as a cemetery nearly five years ago.
A second cemetery, Wallacia Memorial Park, is proposed for a 42-hectare area on the site of the Wallacia Golf Course (sold by the Penrith Panthers in 2014) about 20 kilometres from Penrith. It is envisaged the cemetery would coexist with a slightly shorter golf course and refurbished golf club.