The ACT's City Services Minister Chris Steel has announced plans to open Canberra's first publicly operated crematorium at the Gungahlin Cemetery.

He said during recent consultations, a strong view was put forward that cemeteries and crematoria services were a public service and should be provided by government.

He said some religious groups in Canberra did not currently have their needs met when it came to burial and cremation - in particular Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities.

The ACT is currently the only state or territory in which its primary cemeteries do not perform cremations. It has one privately owned crematorium - Norwood Park Crematorium - that serves a population of about 425,000. 

The ACT's current cremation rate is 75 per cent - one of the highest in the country. Chair of the Cemeteries Authority Stephen Bartos said it received a number of complaints about long waits and timetabling issues at Norwood Park.

"The ACT can clearly cope with having two crematoriums running side by side," he said. 

Sources