Diverse community group to help steer NSW burial and cremation policy

The NSW Government has appointed a 17-member group to capture the diversity of views on end-of-life services for loved ones who have passed away and provide advice on the future of NSW burial and cremation services. Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW has formed its Community and Consumer Consultative Group to provide public input on interment issues and policy.

Among the members are the founder of a natural burial organisation, a funerary architect and cemetery designer, a death doula, the founder of an end-of-life information ‘start-up’, a religious leader, an Indigenous Australian, and representatives of faith and cultural groups. “Like birth, death is a part of life and something everyone has to deal with at some point,” Community and Consumer Consultative Group chair Christopher Zinn said. “We need to understand the community’s many views and values so we have the right options in place that meet different personal needs.

“This consultative group has broad membership with many perspectives on burial and cremation services. This includes traditional interment models as well as alternative services such as environmentally sustainable natural burials. “The diverse composition of this advisory group will allow for some robust debate about the future. The environmental, economic, social and psychological issues around this sector will be considered alongside the traditional focus on faith groups.

“The group will help ensure we have a sustainable and well-governed interment industry that offers a respectful, affordable and accessible burial or cremation for all.” The Community and Consumer Consultative Group was convened after a statewide expression of interest by Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW inviting interested members of the public to apply.

“We have eight women and nine men on the group from across the state including the Illawarra, New England, Far North Coast, and Sydney,” Mr Zinn said. “They will help us consider many issues – from the best ways to keep the public informed on interment options, to innovative services that can offer more consumer choice or new sustainable alternatives.”

Members of the Community and Consumer Consultative Group

  • Mariam Ardati, Australian National Imams Council
  • Jennifer Briscoe-Hough, Tender Funerals
  • Leslie ‘Phil’ Duncan, an Indigenous Australian with interment expertise Kevin Hartley, Earth Funerals
  • Ahmad Kamaledine, NSW Lebanese Muslim Association
  • David Knoll AM, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies
  • Alysia McIntyre, What Do I Do?
  • William Morrow, a Presbyterian minister
  • David Neustein, Other Architects
  • Anthony Pang, Chinese Australian Services Society Group
  • Victoria Spence, Life Rites / Living with our Dead
  • Paul Versteege, Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association
  • Prudence Vines, a law professor with interment expertise, an aged care volunteer and former Trustee & Guardian advisory council member Zenith Virago, Natural Death Care Centre Vera Visevic, Mills Oakley
  • Steffanie von Helle, CEO of Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW
  • Christopher Zinn, Chair of the Community and Consumer Consultative Group, a member of the Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW Board and consumer campaigner.
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