Page 966 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2018

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Environment and Transport and City Services—Standing Committee—Report 4—Management of ACT Cemeteries—Government response.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

I am pleased to present the government response to the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services report 4 of 2017, titled Management of ACT Cemeteries which addresses the management of cemeteries in the ACT. The committee’s report highlights the diverse community we have in Canberra and the importance of ensuring that the needs and preferences of this diverse community are met when it comes to burial, interment and cremation services and the memorialisation of our loved ones.

We have also listened to community concerns about where cemeteries should be located in our city and the government has decided not to proceed with the expansion of the Woden cemetery. The government will continue to explore the option of southern memorial park to ensure that a full range of burial and interment services can be provided across Canberra. This is consistent with the committee’s findings.

The government agrees with the committee that a second crematorium is needed in the ACT to meet demand, provide competition and ensure that all members of our community can have their cremation needs met in line with cultural, religious and other needs and preferences. The government will give further consideration to options for a second crematorium in the ACT that services all members of the Canberra community.

In addition, the ACT government agrees with the standing committee’s recommendation to continue to monitor community preferences across a range of burial, cremation and interment practices and consider how to appropriately act on changing trends. The government will continue to take positive action in this regard.

In total the committee made 12 recommendations and the government has agreed to or noted each of these recommendations. Consistent with the committee’s findings, the government is committed to providing for the burial, cremation and interment needs of all Canberrans into the future and to a review of the current legislation governing cemeteries and cremations to best achieve this end.

This legislative review will be undertaken with extensive and sensitive community consultation so that people can have their say. The review of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act will include consideration of current tenure arrangements for burials to ensure that we have a sustainable governance model for managing our cemeteries into the future that also meet the needs and expectations of our community. The review will comprehensively cover the matters recommended by the committee.

A legislative review will also be undertaken in conjunction with the ACT Cemeteries Authority, recognising the important role the authority plays in managing and

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