Concerned by the looming shortfall of burial plots, the New South Wales Government has proposed a 25-year rent plan for grave plots.
The Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Regulation 2017 (which is on display until December 22), would give families the option to use burial sites for a renewable tenancy of 25 years to a maximum of 99 years, (exisiting graves would not be affected), news.com.au reported.
Families will be able to choose between the cheaper 25-year ‘renewable internment rights’ agreement or the more expensive 99-year ‘perpetual internment’ option.
If your family doesn’t renew the contract at the end of the lease, you will be evicted from the plot. The burial plot would then be reused, with the previous remains moved to a ‘bone room’.
One year before the rental period expires, the cemetery would have to contact the family members to see if they want to continue paying for the burial plot. If the family decline, or couldn’t be located, the remains and memorial will be removed after two years.
Memorial and cremated remains would be returned to the family members.
The plan to renew burial plots was first discussed five years ago by the NSW government, and is now being revisited following an increase in cemetery capacity, The Daily Mail reported.
“The need for government action is driven by inconsistent and dispersed regulation, inconsistent record keeping, and the need for sustainable solutions in response to a scarcity of land for cemetery purposes, particularly in the greater Sydney metropolitan area,” the Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Regulation 2017 states.
News Corp reported the government said doing nothing could mean less well-off families, may need to bury their loved ones further away.
The burial changes would affect the Rockwood Cemetery in Lidcombe, in Sydney’s West.
Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust chief executive George Simpson said, “while cremation was more space efficient, it was not acceptable in some cultures and religions.”
“The mausoleum provides a unique alternative to earth burials and cremation, while maintaining a presence within the cemetery where people can visit and commemorate the dead,” Simpson told The Daily Telegraph in August.
Annual deaths in NSW are predicted to double in 34 years and if the rates of burials and cremation stay the same, cemetery capacity in Sydney may be exhausted by 2051.