Greens: New Bill to Give Billions to Catholic Church

Australian Greens

The Catholic Church is set to earn billions of dollars from a bill before Parliament this week that will hand it control of a significant share of the Crown cemetery sector, and everything they've been lobbying both sides of politics for years, says Greens MP Cate Faehrmann.

The Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria Trust Bill 2024 ensures all future income derived from cemeteries that the Catholic Church operates, potentially worth many billions of dollars, will go to the Catholic Church. This is contrary to a Statutory Review undertaken of the Crown cemetery sector in 2020 which recommended all crown cemetery operators amalgamate into a government-controlled OneCrown entity.

"The Catholic Church has been furiously lobbying both sides of politics for years to control a significant share of the Crown cemetery sector, and this bill gives them everything they've been demanding," said Ms Faehrmann.

"This disgraceful bill gives the Catholic Church everything they have been demanding and shows just how much power the Catholic Church still holds over politics in this state, including within the Minns Government.

"The fight for power over the industry - and the money - has led to decades of government reviews, comprehensive reporting, and court cases. Through this, all other faiths have handed over their trusts and assets to the Crown for the greater good.

"All except the Catholic Church, who instead have furiously resisted recommendations and fought every step of the way.

"So, to all other faiths who willingly worked together and abolished their burial trusts, you should be absolutely livid about this deal. You have been conned.

"Because if this bill passes, unlike all other faiths, the Catholic Church will be handed a significant portion of the lucrative burial business with zero accountability.

"The Minister is well aware that by doing this, it essentially creates a duopoly in the burial business from which the Catholic Church stands to earn billions in income in the coming decades that should have gone to the Crown.

"The Government has been desperate to avoid proper scrutiny of this Bill, refusing to support the Bill going to Inquiry.

"The respectful thing for the Government to do would have been to send the Bill to Inquiry to give MPs from all sides of politics the opportunity to hear from a range of faith leaders.

"It's apparent that impacted stakeholders aren't aware of the full ramifications of this bill. I believe that they, along with faith leaders, have been deliberately kept in the dark about just how much control of the Crown cemetery sector this bill gives to the Catholic Church.

"It proves the separation of church and state still has a very long way to go in NSW," said Cate Faehrmann.

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