To make sure people in NSW have access to sustainable, affordable and dignified burial and cremation (interment) services, the NSW Government has introduced the Interment Industry Scheme – a licensing system for cemetery and crematorium operators. The Regulations governing the scheme commenced on 14 October 2022.
The scheme sets standards for plain language contracts, cemetery maintenance, pricing transparency, customer service and respect for people’s religious and cultural requirements. Families will know what to expect from cemetery and crematorium operators and can make informed choices.
Operators will be transitioned into the scheme in stages, from July 2023 to October 2024.
Cemeteries & Crematoria NSW is working with operators to ensure they are aware of the licensing requirements and helping them with the application and compliance processes.
We are also working with faith leaders, funeral directors, Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to build awareness of the new requirements for operators.
Guidelines will be provided to help operators to understand the range of religious, cultural and spiritual requirements around burial and cremation.
Key information for operators
The scheme will be phased in from July 2023 to October 2024, when all operators must be licensed and compliant.
Operators will be grouped based on their number of interments for the financial year 2021-22. Each group will be allotted a time frame to apply for a licence.
We will contact and advise operators of their group and when their licence application period begins.
The licence conditions will roll out in 3 stages, in October 2023, February 2024 and July 2024.
We will provide support and information for operators throughout the implementation period
Background to the scheme
Two recent reviews – the statutory review of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2013 and the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal Review of costs and pricing of interment in NSW – recommended significant changes to strengthen the interment sector and protect customers.
Cemeteries & Crematoria NSW have developed the Interment Industry Scheme which addresses many of the recommendations made by those reviews.
The scheme will, for the first time, license all cemetery and crematoria operators in NSW. It will introduce requirements for operators in 5 key areas:
- consumer contracts – standard terms and conditions explained clearly so customers can understand what they are paying for
- cemetery maintenance – to make sure there are clear minimum standards for every cemetery
- pricing transparency – so customers know what they are purchasing and can easily compare prices
- customer service – to ensure operators are consistently providing quality service
- religious, cultural and spiritual principles– to ensure respect for religious and cultural requirements and promote understanding of the unique importance of Sorry Business to Aboriginal people.
An important aspect of both reviews relates to perpetual maintenance of cemeteries. We recognise the complexity of the perpetual maintenance issue and have removed these requirements from the first stage of the Interment Industry Scheme. Further consultation with the community and operators is proposed in order to develop a workable and meaningful model to introduce into the scheme at a later date.
The introduction of the scheme follows nearly 2 years of consultation. During the latest stage of consultation, we received 21 formal submissions, 219 survey responses and hundreds of comments provided online and during consultation events. We thank everyone who contributed. For more information on the Interment Industry Scheme, please contact us at email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 02 9842 8473.