Construction of Sydney’s newest cemetery will resume after the New South Wales Labor Government resolved a stand-off between its Catholic operator and the previous government. Source: The Catholic Weekly.
Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper signed the letter of appointment on June 16 for Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust to run the new Macarthur Memorial Park at Varroville in south-west Sydney.
Completion of the cemetery will be fast-tracked and is expected to be completed in February 2025.
With 136,000 burial plots over 113 hectares it will help to solve the critical shortage of cemetery space across Sydney, with cemeteries such as Rookwood, Liverpool, and Woronora almost full.
“The former government’s indecision and infighting left the cemeteries sector in crisis,” a spokesperson for Mr Kamper said.
“Within three months of taking office, we have provided certainty to the sector with our commitment to the two-operator model, we have appointed a new administrator through a merit-based approach, and we have unlocked future burial sites to deal with the shortage crisis.
“We are getting on with fixing the mess.”
The new cemetery is supported by other faith groups including the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Muslim Cemeteries Board.
It ends a dispute with the previous NSW Liberal government which in 2021 sought to dismantle the Catholic cemeteries trust and merge it with four underperforming trusts into one government-operated entity called One Crown—now renamed to Metropolitan Memorial Parklands.
Nearly 20,000 people signed the Save Our Graves petition to the NSW Legislative Assembly, which deputy chief of Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria Damian Furlong said, “showed the former government loud and clear that religious groups have a role to play in honouring the dead and caring for those who’ve lost a loved one”.
Varroville cemetery fast-tracked with end to NSW Government stand-off (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)