Cemetery and Cremation Tax to hit councils and grieving families

Grieving families across NSW have been dealt a harsh Easter surprise with the State Government set to impose a tax on every burial and cremation carried out, including at council-owned cemeteries and crematoria.

This cost will have to be passed on to grieving families, increasing the costs of burials and cremations at what is an already very challenging time and for no discernible benefit.

President of LGNSW Cr Darriea Turley AM called the new tax another example of cost shifting and has written to the minister responsible Steve Kamper calling for the decision to be reversed.

“LGNSW understands the need for NSW Government to undertake budget repair, but a cash grab from families of the deceased in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis is not the right way to go about this,” Cr Turley said.

“This new tax will particularly hit rural and regional families.

“Across NSW, council cemeteries undertake more than 40 percent of all burials but this rises to more than 80 percent of all burials in rural and regional NSW.”

Cr Turley said council-operated cemeteries should not be required to pay the tax to fund the operations of the bureaucracy which regulates cemeteries.

“The regulators are public servants who should be paid from State coffers, not by picking the pockets of councils and families who have lost a loved one,” she said.

“In contrast to other cemetery operators, councils are already heavily regulated under the Local Government Act 1993. This regulation pertains to financial sustainability, oversight, reporting and transparency.

“Moreover, the NSW Government’s Crown cemeteries are already effectively subsidised by the councils in which they are located through the operation of section 556 of the Local Government Act.

“Section 556 provides that land used for a public cemetery and vested in the Crown, a public body or trustees is exempt from all rates, other than water supply special rates and sewerage special rates.

“This rate exemption for substantial tracts of metropolitan land should be considered a council contribution which supports cemeteries operated by Crown land managers to fund the regulator.

“It is inequitable for the NSW Government to ask for council cemeteries to contribute to the costs of funding the NSW Government regulator, while the NSW Government makes its own Crown cemeteries exempt from paying council rates for their large cemeteries.

“This is nothing more than a NSW Government cash grab,” Cr Turley said.


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