25 September 2023

IPART to dig into cemetery costs

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The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has launched an inquiry into the costs and pricing of burial services in NSW cemeteries and has invited community comment.

According to IPART there have been significant reforms in the NSW cemetery sector in recent years, including the amalgamation of Crown cemetery trusts and the introduction of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2013.

IPART said that under that Act it was now required to investigate the costs and the pricing of interment rights.

It said interment services (burial of a body or cremated remains) were provided by cemeteries operated by a combination of Crown land managers, local councils and private operators.

Chair of IPART, Paul Paterson said the review would consider whether existing prices covered the costs of interment, including the cost of acquiring new land as cemeteries reached capacity, and funding the maintenance of cemeteries in perpetuity.

“In particular we have been asked to investigate the differences in costs and prices for perpetual and renewable interment rights,” Dr Paterson said.

“The option to offer renewable interment became effective in NSW in 2018.

“People are now able to choose whether to buy a perpetual right or a right to an initial term of between 25 and 99 years that can be renewed.”

He said prices for interment services were not currently regulated in NSW and they varied significantly, even within the same cemetery.

Dr Paterson said part of the review process would involve deciding whether IPART should recommend maximum prices for specific services, or instead publish guidelines or benchmarks.

He said an Issues Paper had been released by IPART to encourage feedback on a range of issues to be considered as part of the review.

He said a draft report would be released for further comment in September with final recommendations to be made in December.

The 38-page Issues Paper can be accessed at this PS News link with submissions closing on 7 June.

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