Why did Council produce this draft Cemetery Policies document?
The draft Cemetery Policies document has been developed to address identified policy gaps in regard to management of Council's cemeteries. This includes,
- allowing consistent response to issues that repeatedly arise;
- response to the risk, identified in the Cemeteries Asset Management Plan, of cemeteries running out of burial space; and
- facilitate safe and efficient working environments for cemetery staff and visitors.
This document puts forward policies for,
- Burial placements and licences
- Scattering of ashes
- Monumental work in cemeteries
- Maintenance of Historic Graves
This document was written with reference to:
- the relevant legislation;
- the relevant Australian Standards;
- Council’s templates;
- The Cemeteries and Crematoria Association of NSW standard template;
- Policies from other Councils; and
- Input from Blue Mountains City Services and Development Health & Customer Services
What Cemeteries does Council manage?
Council manages 9 cemeteries over the Blue Mountains Local Government Area.
Eight of these Cemeteries are on Crown Land, and consequently are guided by legislation under the Crown Lands Act 1989 (Crown Lands Act Link: http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/maintop/scanact/inforce/NONE/0 ).
One cemetery, located at Faulconbridge, is on Council Community Land, and consists of ashes gardens and columbariums, and a historical section which includes Henry Parkes grave.
- Mt Irvine
- Mt Victoria
- Wentworth Falls
What are the capacity of Council's Cemeteries
Council's cemeteries currently hold over 11,000 internments, approxately 7,500 being burials, ashes making up the remainder. The largest of these being Katoomba Cemetery, followed by Springwood, Wentworth Falls and Blackheath Cemeteries. Lawson and Faulconbridge have smaller capacities, followed by Mt Victoria and Mt Irvine Cemeteries. Megalong Cemetery is a historic cemetery, and currently does not have active internments.
The annual rate of internments in cemeteries managed by Council are approximately 90 burials and 50 ashes placements per year at this present time.
Springwood cemetery currently receives the highest rate of internments in Council's managed cemteries. Both Springwood and Wentworth Falls Cemeteries pose the greatest issues with remaining space available for burials. It is estimated that at current burial rates, Springwood Cemetery could reach capacity in 15 to 20 years.
Does Council's Draft Cemetery Policies document have anything to do with the draft Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill which has recently been proposed by the NSW Government?
Councils Draft Cemetery Policies document is not related in any way to the new proposed draft Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill. Council's document was produced prior to the draft Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill being released to the public. The policies in Council's document address completely different issues to what is put forward in the draft Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill (dCCB).
The purpose of the draft Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill includes,
- Single Act to cover Cemeteries and Crematoria in NSW
- Cost effective, accountable and streamlined management
- Restructure the Crown sector in management of Cemetaries and Crematoria
- Address sustainability challenges
One of the sections of this Bill puts forward the option of Cemetery managers to provide limited tenure on burial rights for sites when an internment is in place. Council at this point of time does not plan to imlement this option.
An 'exposure draft' of this particular Bill was placed on public exhibition during September. It is currently being debated in parliement. The Consultation Draft and further background information can be accessed from the NSW Legislation website from the following link Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill 2013 .