Mr Lucas said a number of issues within the funeral industry had come to his attention since he took on the role of Attorney-General earlier this year.
“Over the past few months I have met with representatives from the various funeral industry associations and discussions about strengthening the governance and conduct of operators in the industry is ongoing,” he said.
Every year about 27,000 deaths are registered in Queensland and since 1 January 2006 the Office of Fair Trading has received 37 complaints related to the funeral industry.
Mr Lucas said the funeral industry in Queensland had high levels of industry association membership and most operators offered great services to families at a very difficult time.
“Despite the small number of complaints, a number of issues, including mandatory labelling on funeral urns and mandatory information concerning places of cremation have been brought to my attention.
“In light of this and to ensure the best protection for grieving families, the government will amend the current legislation to ensure that a person in charge of a crematorium labels a person’s ashes correctly, including that the label placed on urns must include certain identifying information about the deceased person and the location of cremation.
“Under the changes, the person in charge of a crematorium or who arranges for the disposal of a body will also have to lodge a cremation or burial notice electronically.
“There will of course be limited exceptions, for example for operators in remote locations.”
Mr Lucas said it was extremely troubling to hear of families who are concerned the ashes they have received are not that of their loved one.
“The death of a loved one can be a very sad, traumatic and stressful time and we want to ensure no further worry or stress is placed on family members.
“Without a doubt, they should be able to have absolute confidence that their loved one has been looked after and returned to them.
“I have already flagged with industry that a mandatory code of conduct is something worth very serious consideration.
“Strong industry self regulation in partnership with a state sanctioned mandatory code of conduct is a good way to go provided they don’t add to the cost of a funeral.
“Work on these important matters in consultation with industry is continuing,” he said.
The changes are expected to be introduced into Parliament by the end of the year.
Deputy Premier and Attorney-General, Minister for Local Government and Special Minister of State
The Honourable Paul Lucas
Better labelling and recording of cremations and burials in Queensland
Media Contact: Thea Phillips 3227 8425