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The management of cemeteries and crematoriums in Tasmania is governed by the Burial and Cremation Act 2002 (the Act). The Act regulates the establishment and management of cemeteries and crematoriums, and the handling, storage, or transport of human remains. The legislation also provides public health and public safety standards for the funeral industry.
The Director of Local Government has a number of specific responsibilities under the Act in relation to cemetery and crematorium management. Among other things, the Director is required to maintain an active register of all cemeteries, crematoriums and other prescribed businesses (e.g. businesses that handle or transport human remains).
Any person or organisation intending to take on the role of cemetery manager or crematorium manager, or who wishes to carry on a ‘prescribed business’, is required by law to notify the Director of Local Government in writing of this intention at least one month in advance.
The Director has the authority to object to the notification where the proposed manager or operator has been convicted of certain offences or, in the opinion of the Director, the proposed manager or operator is not a ‘fit and proper’ person.
Cemetery mangers, crematorium managers and prescribed business operators have a wide range of important legal obligations and duties. For example, cemetery managers are responsible for correct handling and interment of human remains, providing public access, administration and record-keeping, and general maintenance and upkeep.
It is important that any person or organisation intending to take on any of these roles understands the relevant obligations and duties, and is willing and able to fulfil them. A failure to meet obligations and duties can result in fines under the Act, or expose a manager or operator to legal action from affected parties for breaches of their duties (for example, friends and families of interred persons, or the holders of exclusive rights of burial).
Important information on the requirements and process for becoming a cemetery manager, crematorium manager, and or a prescribed business operator is provided in the following documents:
In response to significant community concern surrounding the sale of properties containing cemeteries, the Tasmanian Government has committed to considering legislative changes that will preserve, protect, and, where appropriate, strengthen both the rights of community members and the obligations on cemetery managers.
The Government has announced a review of the legislative and regulatory provisions that apply to Tasmanian cemeteries to ensure:
Further information will be made available as the Review progresses. Broad public consultation on proposed legislative amendments will occur later in 2018.
The Director of Local Government is responsible under the Burial and Cremation Regulations 2015 for the approval of 'Declaration of Life Extinct' (DoLE) forms and the requirements for the use of identification tags for human remains. The DoLE forms can be ordered in triplicate from Mercury Walch Pty Ltd. The contact details for Mercury Walch are:
Mercury Walch Pty Ltd
5 Bowen Road
Moonah Tasmania 7009
For further information or if you have any queries regarding the Act and the Review, please contact the Local Government Division either by email to email@example.com or on (03) 6232 7022.