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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1690 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

The notice would specify the contravention that had occurred and the chief executive's reasoning, and invite written submissions within a specified period of not less than 14 days on why the operator should not be required to cease the contravention, remedy the consequences of the contravention, or do both.

If, after considering any written submissions from the operator, the chief executive is still satisfied that the operator should be required to cease the contravention, remedy the consequences of the contravention, or do both, he or she may issue an improvement notice to the operator.

The bill establishes the Capital Territory Public Cemeteries Board, replacing the Canberra Public Cemeteries Trust. The board will be a corporation with perpetual succession, may have a common seal, may sue and be sued in its corporate name, and may acquire, hold and dispose of property-all the usual things.

The function of the board will be to effectively and efficiently manage public cemeteries and crematoria, for which the minister has appointed a board as the operator. It will be required to operate on a commercial basis and will not receive any government funding, as is the current situation of the Public Cemeteries Trust.

The bill provides for a continuation of the existing arrangement whereby the board may arrange with the chief executive to use public servants in the board's secretariat but still under the chief executive's control. Management of public servants by the board would be subject to the Public Sector Management Act.

In line with the principles of natural justice, the bill provides that where a cemetery or crematorium operator is aggrieved by a decision of the minister he or she may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision.

The bill provides the power for the executive to make any necessary regulations on issues such as the protection of cemeteries and crematoria, their conduct, permits for burials and cremations, and the requirement of certificates from doctors for permits for burials and cremations.

The Cemeteries Act 1933 and the Cremation Act 1966 will be repealed. Repealing the Cemeteries Act 1966 removes the existing monopoly of ownership and operation of cemeteries by the existing Canberra Public Cemeteries Trust. The Canberra Public Cemeteries Regulations made on 30 June 1939 are also repealed.

The Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 is amended to include crematoria in the definition of cemetery. Also schedule 1 of the act is revised to redefine the management objective of a cemetery or burial ground as being to "provide for the interment and cremation of human remains and the interment of ashes of human remains".

A cemetery and crematorium would be established by the creation of executive lease for these facilities under the Land (Planning and Environment) Act. A sublease would then be granted to a person or a company to operate the facility. This provides a very simple and flexible administrative mechanism to provide for the opening, closing or transfer of ownership of a cemetery or crematorium.

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