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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 2 April 2009) . . Page.. 1844 ..

1. Consultation on the proposed Tuggeranong cemetery and crematorium has been started with discussions with some of the key stakeholders.

The ACT Government is seeking input from key stakeholders, local residents and interested individuals. The public consultation process will comprise of:

• Information displays and fact sheets at ACT Government Shopfronts, public libraries and other selected venues

• Surveys including hardcopy, online and a random telephone survey of 1,000 members of the Canberra Community

• Stakeholder meetings/briefings

• Information sessions

• Direct mail to community networks

2. In general the community will be asked to comment on a number of themes, including:

• Whether or not they support the establishment of a southern cemetery;

• Whether or not they support the establishment of a cemetery at the proposed site;

• Whether they agree on the inclusion of a second crematorium at the proposed site;

• Whether or not they support reserving part of the proposed site for natural burials and other types of burials and what other elements the proposed cemetery might include.

3. At present only coffins that meet specific criteria under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2003 Act, Regulation 7 (2) (Requirement for burial of human remains), which states a coffin, casket or other container is approved for the burial of human remains if it complies with the following minimal requirements that it:

(1) Not leak liquids or gases;

(2) Be securely closed before transportation to the burial site up to and including committal to the ground;

(3) Be constructed so as to not distort or collapse when handled during the normal course of events leading up to burial (including handling when damp); or

(4) Otherwise, be approved in writing by the chief health officer.

a. For shrouds it is not clear at this point in time whether an approval process by the Chief Health Officer would suffice or whether a change would be required to legislation. Burials in cardboard coffins are already permitted;

b. Burial in a bush cemetery would not require any changes to legislation; and

c. Vertical burial per se would not require a change to legislation but the coffin used will in all likelihood require approval of the Chief Health Officer.

4. The ACT Public Cemeteries Authority has no access to information regarding Norwood Park, which is privately owned and operated.

5. Natural burial is a relatively new concept in mainstream cemetery management. As far as the Cemeteries Authority is aware there is no quantitative published scientific data available comparing natural burial to standard burial and cremation.

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