Canberra families will have greater protections in perpetuity following the death of a loved one with new laws passing the Legislative Assembly today.

The diverse needs of Canberra’s multicultural community will also be met with the laws providing better access to culturally specific cemetery and crematoria services.“The incident of the missing ashes at Norwood Park Crematorium was very distressing for the families involved, and following an independent investigation we have now changed the law to make sure this never happens again,” Minister for City Services Chris Steel said.

“There are now stronger provisions that mean facility operators can only disinter ashes if the family applies to do so or with approval from the regulator, as well as a licencing scheme for operators of facilities, and stricter requirements for record keeping.”

The new laws also ensure that all Canberrans can access cemetery and crematoria services that meet their needs.

It will be an offence for operators to refuse any reasonable request made on the basis of religious or cultural needs.“These changes were shaped following community engagement where we heard that 1 in 10 people don’t have their religious or cultural needs met in our existing facilities,” Minister Steel said.“Some Canberrans have to travel to Sydney to bury or cremate their loved ones and we want to provide more inclusive options for our multicultural community." 

The ACT Government has committed to building a new public crematorium at Gungahlin Cemetery and the Southern Memorial Park to meet the needs of our growing city.

Statement ends

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