Costs and pricing of NSW cemeteries under review

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is seeking feedback on the costs and pricing of interment services in NSW cemeteries.

There have been significant reforms in the NSW cemetery sector in recent years, including the amalgamation of Crown cemetery trusts and the introduction of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2013. Under this Act, IPART is now required to investigate the costs and the pricing of interment rights.

Interment services (burial of a body or cremated remains) are provided by cemeteries operated by a combination of Crown land managers, local councils and private operators.

IPART Chair Dr Paul Paterson said the review will consider whether existing prices cover the costs of interment, including the cost of acquiring new land as cemeteries reach capacity, and funding the maintenance of cemeteries in perpetuity.

“In particular we have been asked to investigate the differences in costs and prices for perpetual and renewable interment rights,” Dr Paterson said.

“The option to offer renewable interment became effective in NSW in 2018. People are now able to choose whether to buy a perpetual right or a right to an initial term of between 25 and 99 years that can be renewed.”

Prices for interment services are not currently regulated in NSW and they vary significantly, even within the same cemetery. Part of the review process will involve deciding whether IPART should recommend maximum prices for specific services, or instead publish guidelines or benchmarks.

A paper released by IPART today seeks feedback on a range of issues to be considered as part of the review.

A full copy of the Issues Paper is available here. Submissions can be made until 7 June, and a draft report will be released for further comment in September 2019. Final recommendations will be made in December 2019.