Chris Steel, Minister for City Services, ACT, AU

Families who have lost loved ones will be treated with dignity and respect, and protected in perpetuity with legislation introduced today providing tough new regulation of the cemeteries and crematoria industry.

“Following the independent investigation into lost ashes at Norwood Park Crematorium, we said we would change the law to make sure this distressing incident wouldn’t happen again. Today we are making those changes," Minister for City Services Chris Steel said.

"The independent audit into what happened with the lost ashes has been completed and the report has been published. We have learnt lessons from this and we want to ensure no family will ever go through this again.”

The regulatory framework includes a licensing scheme for operators of facilities, improved requirements for record keeping, the requirement to keep standard operating procedures, and a new provision that specifies that cremated remains can only be disinterred at the request of the family, or with approval from the Regulator.

Today’s legislation also addresses the needs of Canberra’s diverse community for a variety of burial and crematorium services that meet their cultural and religious needs.

“We have listened to the community. One in ten people don’t have their religious or cultural needs met in our existing facilities – some families have to travel to Sydney for funeral services and this is unacceptable in a socially inclusive society,” Minister Steel said.

“The Bill recognises that all people should be able to expect cemetery and crematoria services that meet their needs, no matter what those needs are.

“The ACT Government is building a new public crematorium at Gungahlin Cemetery and the Southern Memorial Park to ensure that our population can feel confident that they won’t have to travel interstate to farewell a loved one,” Minister Steel said.