Under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003, trust members are appointed and removed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister for Health (s. 6 of the Act for appointments and Clause 3 of Schedule 1 of the Act for removals).
Cemetery Sector Governance Support processes applications for appointment as a cemetery trust member and has developed guidelines to assist trusts with the appointment of Class B cemetery trust members.
Note: Applications for appointments that are more than 6 months old, according to when the trust chairperson dated the application form, should not be submitted to the department as these applications will not be accepted by the Governor in Council.
It can take 3–5 months for the appointment process to be finalised once an application has been lodged with the department. It may take longer if the department has to follow up with trusts regarding the application form.
Trust membership should reflect the composition of the community it serves
Class B cemetery trusts seeking new members are encouraged seek a diverse membership to ensure that the trust membership reflects the composition of the community it serves.
Currently the representation of women on Class B cemetery trusts is 27 per cent. In most instances this does not reflect the composition of the community which the trust serves. Cemetery trusts should be actively seeking to appoint the same number of women as men to the trust.
The department has prepared information about the Benefits of balanced boards to help cemetery trusts recruit female board members.
Class B cemetery trust members – advertising vacancies
All vacancies on a cemetery trust, including those that arise due to resignation, death or expiry of a current term of office, need to be publicly advertised. The costs associated with advertising will be met by the department.
Advertising vacant trust positions ensures that the trust member nomination and selection process is both fair and reasonable. It also provides an opportunity for new candidates and existing trust members whose term is expiring to familiarise or reacquaint themselves with the requirements of the role.
Trusts may also wish to prepare a local community service board notice. The following is a sample of suggested wording:
"XYZ Cemetery trust Date:
The trust is currently seeking expressions of interest from members of the community who are interested in serving on the XYZ Cemetery Trust. Cemetery trust members are appointed by the Governor in Council and are responsible to the Minister for Health. To register your interest, please contact Joe Brown on 5555 6666, or write to 123 Main Street, Xyztown, 3999 within two weeks of the date of this notice."
Number of Class B cemetery trust members
There must not be fewer than 3 or more than 11 trust members.
Class B cemetery trust appointment terms
Trust members appointed prior to 1 January 1996 remain in office until they resign, pass away or are removed from office by the Governor in council. Trust members appointed since 1 January 1996 hold office for a period not exceeding 5 years. They may apply for reappointment.
Class B cemetery trust appointment and nomination process
When seeking potential nominees for trust membership, the requirements of the position and the selection criteria should be clearly communicated to suitable candidates. All vacancies on cemetery trusts need to be publicly advertised.
When considering making a nomination for the position of a trust member, cemetery trusts must be in a position to demonstrate that their selection process is both fair and reasonable. In accordance with Victorian Government policy, trusts are encouraged to:
- ensure that due process and the principles of merit selection are observed in the nomination process
- seek to increase the representation of women on the trust
- build the capacity for increasing the participation and direct representation of Indigenous Victorians across all levels of government
- ensure that the membership of the trust and the services of the trust are responsive to and reflect Victoria’s culturally diverse community
- give young Victorians an opportunity.
Professional qualifications and practical skills relevant to the trust should be considered. Trusts should have members with an appropriate mix of expertise, experience and a range of perspectives. Emphasis should be placed on the skill mix and personal attributes required for effective performance by the trust.
As part of the selection process, at least one referee check for all new applicants must be conducted to the satisfaction of the trust. Referee checks provide the trust with the opportunity to confirm and verify information gathered during interviews.
Note: This check is not required for members seeking reappointment to a trust.
More information on developing selection criteria and conducting interviews and referee checks is available for download below.
Class B cemetery trust – nomination of directly related family members
Where a trust is seeking to appoint a person who is directly related to another applicant or a current trust member (directly related family members are considered to be husband and wife, domestic partners, parents, children and siblings), the chairperson of the trust should complete the Letter of support - nomination of a directly related family member.
If the directly related family member being nominated for appointment to the trust is the current trust chairperson, the trust secretary or a current trust member should complete this letter of support. This letter should then be attached to the applicant's application form.
Where those being nominated for trust membership share the same surname as other trust members but are not directly related, the chairperson should advise the nature of their relationship to the department, in writing, at the time of application.
Class B cemetery trust – expiry of existing appointments
To ensure continued participation on cemetery trusts, the unit encourages current trust members (who are not life members) to apply for reappointment before their current term expires.
Class B cemetery trust applications
Trusts need to ensure that applications for appointment are submitted on a current application form. Outdated application forms will be returned to the trust as these forms will not be accepted by the Governor in Council and therefore cannot be processed by the department.
Guidelines, the current application form and other relevant documents can be downloaded, including Information for applicants seeking appointment to a Class B cemetery trust.
The interactive Word version of the Application form for appointment to a Class B cemetery trust (interactive) has been designed for completion online.
If you wish to complete the application form online but require instructions on how to do so, please refer to the Instructions to complete interactive Word documents.
If you would prefer to complete the application form by hand, simply print and complete the form.
Class B cemetery trust resignations
Under clause 3 of schedule 1 of the Act, a trust member may resign from their position by means of a letter of resignation addressed to the minister and delivered to the unit. A template resignation letter is available for download.