Families farewelling loved ones would have access to more transparent pricing, improving consumer choice and encouraging competitive prices, alongside other consumer safeguards under changes proposed by the NSW regulator.
Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW (CCNSW) invites members of the public to comment on its draft Interment Industry Scheme, which aims to ensure all people in NSW have access to affordable, sustainable, and culturally appropriate burial and cremation services.
CCNSW Chair, Stepan Kerkyasharian said the scheme was a major milestone in regulating the cemetery and crematoria industry in NSW, bringing benefits for both industry and families who must arrange the burial or cremation of a loved one.
“The scheme will give families the comfort of knowing the cemetery or crematoria operator they deal with will be licensed and must abide by customer service standards, transparent pricing and use clear consumer contracts to ensure people are treated with dignity and respect.
“The Interment Industry Scheme will strengthen the industry and protect consumers from a lack of clear information on costs. It will also make sure religious or cultural requirements relating to burials and cremations are understood and met,” Mr Kerkyasharian said.
“For operators, certainty around clearly defined industry standards will help them meet community expectations, with the support of the regulator CCNSW.”
Licences will be based on an operator’s size, activity level and risk, with licence costs kept to a minimum. Proposed mandatory requirements would include:
- Price transparency for customers including consistent language, price breakdowns for common basic services, and publishing of prices online
- Standard terms and conditions for consumer contracts in clear language to help consumers make informed choices about services
- Operators understanding and meeting religious and cultural requirements, and Aboriginal cultural and spiritual requirements, for burials and cremations.
- Standard customer service requirements to ensure people are treated with dignity and respect and a high level of service is present across the industry.
In the next phase of the scheme, CCNSW will later consult on the best way for cemeteries to manage and fund their perpetual maintenance obligations into the future. CCNSW will assist operators to comply with these reforms during a staged transition period.