IN response to the letters regarding renewals of memorial positions for burials and ashes in cemeteries in South Australia, I wish to provide some clarification as we are aware that there is great deal of confusion in the community.
Until 2013, SA legislation only allowed for interment rights — the right to bury or to inter ashes into a position in a cemetery, and to erect a monument — for a limited period.
The change in legislation gave cemeteries the choice to offer these rights in perpetuity and so Centennial Park started offering families the choice in August 2015. We are the only major metropolitan cemetery in SA to offer perpetuity. All interment rights bought before 2013 have an expiry date. Since 2013, unless a perpetual interment right was purchased, interment rights continue to have expiry dates.
The choice about how long to renew an interment right for lies with the family, providing the renewal is for a period of at least five years.
Perpetuity is just one option we are able to provide our families, and is for those families who wish to ensure a position remains theirs, forever, without having to worry about who in the family will bear the cost of renewing the interment right in the future. The price to buy a perpetual interment right or to extend a current interment right in perpetuity is based on an actuarial calculation that takes into account the costs to maintain the position forever.
Renewal fees for interment rights on burial positions at Centennial Park currently start at $84 per year ($420 for the minimum five year period) up to the most expensive at $398 per year ($1990 for the minimum five-year period). Generally, burial positions can accommodate three burials.
If an interment right expires and the family does not wish to extend it the family can choose to surrender the right and the position can be made available for others to use. Headstones and plaques are the property of families — they do not belong to the cemetery. The existing remains are not removed but are respectfully cared for.
When interment rights expire, we make every effort to contact the holder of the interment right, as required under the Burial and Cremation Act 2013 (SA). We write letters to the interment right holders from at least one year in advance of the expiry date. We also place public notices in The Advertiser and place a sticker on the headstone or plaque encouraging families to contact us. We continually remind families and the general public to update their contact details.
Under the Act, if we have not been contacted by the family after two years of the expiry date, ownership of the position reverts to Centennial Park and it may be re-used.
JANET MILLER, Centennial Park CEO