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Sunrise at Sydney’s Rookwood Cemetery (Facebook/Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria)

New South Wales Parliament will soon clarify the purpose of the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust and confirm its expansion to new burial sites. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Introducing a bill into the lower house on June 6, the first anniversary of the death of the trust’s former chief executive Peter O’Meara, NSW Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said it will bring the “cemetery wars to a close”.

The trust, which operates not-for-profit cemeteries at Rookwood, North Rocks, Liverpool and Kemps Creek expects to open its new site at Varroville in March 2025.

For years, led by Mr O’Meara, it worked to secure its ongoing role and future in the cemeteries sector and fought off an attempt by the former NSW government in 2021 to place it into administration and merge it into a single state-controlled model called One Crown.

“[Peter] not only had to constantly fight against government pressure to keep his organisation going, but he also continued to improve the delivery and availability of affordable burial and cremation services to those of all faiths and none,” Mr Kamper said.

“I am pleased to say that this bill will bring the cemetery wars to a close and is a fitting tribute to Peter’s memory.”

In February, the NSW Court of Appeal confirmed the trust’s status as a charitable organisation, which confirmed its independence and highlighted its purpose under original legislation for burying the dead of the Roman Catholic Church.

In his second reading speech, Mr Kamper explained that the trust has acted in “good faith” in providing services for all, but that new legislation expanding its purposes is required as a matter of urgency before a July 1 deadline for implementing Sydney’s new cemetery provision arrangements.


Kamper to clarify cemeteries trust with new law (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)