Church betrayed over NSW cemeteries deal: Archbishop

Rookwood cemetery in Sydney (Rookwood Cemetery Facebook)

The Catholic Church has accused the Berejiklian government of backing away from peace-deal negotiations over the management of the state’s cemeteries. Source: Daily Telegraph.

A resolution of the contentious plan to overhaul how cemeteries are run has now been delayed as cabinet ministers seek to resolve the standoff between church and state.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has now accused Property Minister Melinda Pavey of backing away from an agreement reached with Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who was called in to broker a truce over the issue.

In a letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Archbishop Fisher labelled Ms Pavey’s proposed course of action as a “betrayal of our trust in your good faith”.

He asked her not to proceed with a course that would inevitably be perceived as anti-faith and socially divisive.

The letter was sparked by an August 30 email from Ms Pavey’s department to Catholic Cemeteries chief executive Peter O’Meara, outlining plans for a single administrator to administer all five Crown cemetery operators, including the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (CMCT).

The Archbishop said certain “in principle understandings” had been agreed to by Mr Barilaro, including that the CMCT would be a stand-alone Crown Land Manager.

A spokesman for the Deputy Premier said that agreement was based on a caveat that Treasury would need to give final sign-off.

Labor Leader Chris Minns accused the government of reneging on a deal.


Catholic officials are furious with the government over the management of cemeteries (By James O'Doherty, The Daily Telegraph)

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