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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2065 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Other regulations to be developed under this bill would cover the protection of cemeteries and crematoria and their conduct, permits for burials and cremations, and for certificates from doctors to be required to obtain permits for burials and cremations.

The bill also provides the minister with the power to determine codes of practice in their operation. The codes cover a range of matters, such as record keeping, burial in vaults, by-laws for the cemetery board, and minimum standards or guidelines. The department is currently developing the regulations and code of practice, in partnership with the various interested parties. Members of the Assembly will be invited to be part of that-I will facilitate any such arrangement.

Dealing with cemeteries and crematoria is a sensitive issue. I think getting this bill through will be the death of me! I had not expected such intense interest. I rather thought this was a routine bit of legislation that would go through. I have been a bit thrown by the intense interest in it. I hope to survive and not need the facilities in the near future!

Ms Tucker: So do we!

MR WOOD: Thank you, Ms Tucker.

The bill provides the power for the chief executive to require an operator of a cemetery or crematorium to carry out improvements such as structural works or repair to upgrade the facility so it complies with all standards.

Where it is clear that the act is being contravened, the chief executive can issue a show-cause notice to bring about remediation. 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, an improvement notice may be issued.

In most instances, the chief executive would also provide verbal advice on matters needing rectification-and why. The officer and licensee would usually agree on the timeframes for the work to be completed. The operator of a cemetery or crematorium may apply to the AAT for a review of the chief executive's decision.

Mr Speaker, in summary, the Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill has been developed to ensure that the protection and management of public cemeteries and private burial grounds is as effective and efficient as possible.

I would urge you to support the bill. I got a bit lost in the debate on just where this is going today. I am not absolutely sure. There will be a motion from somewhere, I understand, to put it to a committee-

Mr Cornwell: Yes, to bury it somewhere!

MR WOOD: To bury it in a committee, yes. Indeed, that might happen! The government will oppose that. I was part of a debate in the opposition lobby, but I maintain my position that we can put this through today. If it goes to a committee, it will not be buried there forever.

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