A new public crematorium for Canberra

Released 04/10/2019

The ACT Government will build a publicly operated crematorium at the Gungahlin Cemetery, Minister for City Services Chris Steel announced today.

Minister Steel said that during recent consultations, a strong view was put forward that cemeteries and crematoria services are a public service and should be provided by Government.

"The community told us that they wanted a publicly run crematorium in Canberra. The Government has listened and I will appoint the ACT Cemeteries Authority to build and operate a new public crematorium at Gungahlin Cemetery," Minister Steel said.

"Our city is growing and it is also becoming more diverse so we are investing in a new facility now to meet community needs.

"A key finding from the community was that some religious communities in Canberra do not have their needs met when it comes to burial and cremation, particularly our Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities. As an inclusive and welcoming city this is not good enough," Minister Steel said.

"This announcement will help to fulfil one of the significant requirements of the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities, allowing family members to perform the last rites as per their religious beliefs," said Deepak-Raj Gupta, Member for Yerrabi.

"We're committed to ensuring that all Canberrans can access cemetery and crematorium services. We have a vibrant multicultural community and it's important that people have access to the services they need here, rather than having to travel interstate," Minister Steel said.

The ACT is the only State or Territory where its primary cemeteries are "interment only". The ACT has one privately owned crematorium that to serve a population of approximately 425,000. The ACT’s current cremation rate is 75%. NSW had 49 crematoriums at 30 June 2016 which is equivalent to one crematorium per 155,000 population and a cremation rate of 66%.

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission will set prices at the public crematorium and competitive neutrality principles will be applied to the new public facilities.

Work will soon commence in progressing design and construction of the facility, to be operated by ACT Cemeteries Authority.

- Statement ends -

Section: Chris Steel, MLA | Media Releases

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