Although there is no reference in the Act to the position of secretary or trust manager, the cemetery trust may appoint a person to attend to routine business matters and to perform those powers and duties delegated by the trust.
Depending on the size and operations of the trust, the role of secretary/manager may be paid or voluntary. Where the secretary holds a paid position, the trust should ensure a job description is created. The department has developed a job description for trust secretaries that trusts may use if they wish.
The powers and duties delegated by the trust include:
- the day-to-day administration of and liaison in regards to the cemetery
- administration of the trust
- general statutory obligations
- financial management
- assisting with funeral arrangements, memorial approvals, and investigations and complaints management.
Any payment made to the secretary should be commensurate with the duties of the position. Information about appropriate pay and working conditions can be found at the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Note that trust members may be appointed to the role of trust secretary, however, they must not receive any payment for this role other than reimbursement of expenses as approved by the trust.
The trust secretary may be responsible for providing administrative support to the trust, such as taking trust meeting minutes and circulating papers.
Under the direction of the chairperson, the trust secretary’s duties may include:
- facilitating induction of new trust members
- ensuring effective information flows within the trust
- advising members on the legal obligations of members and of the trust
- carrying out the instructions of the board, assisting in implementing corporate strategies and giving practical effect to the board's decisions
- undertaking a range of operational functions related to the cemetery services provided by the trust such as sale of rights of interment and memorials, taking interment/funeral bookings, and attending interment services as the trust’s delegate to check and receive documentation.
The duties of the trust secretary are to exercise care and diligence, act in good faith, and use powers for a proper purpose. The secretary may not use inside information gained through their position for their own benefit or to the detriment of the trust.