Cessnock council rejects government cemetery changes
Cessnock City Council will not offer renewable internment rights at any of its cemeteries, following changes to State Government regulations earlier this year that allow gravesite turnover.
The changes to the Cemetery and Crematoria Regulation 2018 allow cemetery operators to rent graves for a minimum of 25 years, before removing the remains and reselling the plot. The rights can be renewed for up to 99 years.
Perpetual internment rights are still available, which leaves the remains in the plot forever.
Although the practice is voluntary, cemetery operators employing renewable rights would be able to remove the headstone and remains if the deceased’s relatives were unable to continue paying for the plot.
However Cessnock City Council has committed to not offering renewable internment rights at its 10 cemeteries.
“One of the most concerning aspects of the changes is that it may create two classes of burial rights in NSW that would see some unable to afford a plot for more than 25 years,” Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent said.
“Our community is home to many families who have been here for generations.
“Everyone deserves a place to be laid to rest and a place for their loved ones to visit them.”
The matter was dealt with during a Mayoral Minute at last week’s Council meeting, with councillors unanimously supporting.
A Parliamentary inquiry into the regulation handed down its final report last month, recommending that a public awareness campaign be undertaken and that religious and cultural leaders be consulted before any remains are disturbed. The Government’s response is due in May, 2019.