Rights for Rites

October 25, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Small Business Katrina Hodgkinson today introduced legislation into Parliament which heralds the next significant phase of the NSW Government‘s cemeteries and crematoria reforms.

Katrina Hogkinson

Katrina Hogkinson

“The emphasis of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Bill 2013 is to ensure that the customs and religious practices of all faith based groups are protected – the right to choose how our remains are disposed of and that it is done and commemorated in a dignified manner,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“These rights are so basic and universal that they transcend political, cultural and religious differences, and social inequality.

“These monumental reforms are the first this State has seen in more than 100 years.”

This Bill ensures:

  • no religious or cultural group will be disadvantaged;
  • streamlined, cost-effective, and accountable management;
  • penalties for the desecration of graves; and
  • cemetery space for current and future generations.

“It introduces a new governance framework and regulation to ensure the sector is financially and socially accountable with appropriate business and community focused protocols,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“It also aims to regulate cemetery and crematorium operations across private, local government and Crown cemetery sectors.

“Since taking responsibility of Cemeteries the NSW Government has recognised the need for change and as a result there has been comprehensive consultation with key community and religious groups before and during the development of the Bill.

“This Bill provides a sound framework for long-term planning and management through the establishment of a new agency, Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW.

“This agency will be led by an independent Board and have functions and powers to address the issue of diminishing cemetery space, ensuring that the beliefs of all community groups are respected, and equitable and affordable access to interment services is adequately provided irrespective of religious or cultural heritage.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to respecting the burial needs of religious and cultural communities,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

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