Key messages

  • The Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 (the Act) governs the operation of Victoria’s cemeteries and crematoria sector.
  • The Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Bill 2009 made a number of amendments to the Act.
  • The Act was most recently amended in 2015.

Victoria has a proud tradition of caring for its forebears in a system of public cemeteries. The Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 (the Act), which commenced on 1 July 2005, governs the operations of Victoria’s cemetery and crematoria sector. The Act replaced the Cemeteries Act 1958

The Act is available on the Victorian Legislation website

Proposed changes to the Act

On 1 March 2021, the Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Bill 2021 was approved by Cabinet for introduction to Parliament. Commencement of the proposed amendments is subject to approval by Parliament.

Proposed key changes to the Act include: 

  • Providing the department’s Secretary with a discretionary power to direct the variation or surrender of a right of interment to protect people directly affected by an indictable offence or a death in circumstances including murder-suicide, from further harm, pain or suffering that may occur if a right of interment were exercised by or in favour of an offender or a deceased person responsible for causing a death.
  • Making a number of minor technical and other amendments to clarify ambiguity and update references to improve the administration and sector’s understanding of the Act including:
    • to clarify cemetery trusts’ general and delegation powers
    • to clarify cemetery trusts’ obligation to offer perpetual rights of interment for cremated remains
    • to remove the obligation that a deceased poor person’s ‘friends’ should pay interment or cremation expenses as it is not a reasonable requirement and would be difficult to enforce.

The Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Bill 2021 and Explanatory Memorandum are available on the Victorian Legislation website.

For further information please contact the Cemetery Sector Governance Support Program on 1800 034 280 or email cemeteries@health.vic.gov.au.

Changes made to the Act in 2009 

The Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Bill 2009 made amendments to the Act to ensure cemetery and crematoria services in Victoria are well placed to meet the needs of our communities and future generations by: 

  • improving the governance and accountability of cemetery trusts, focusing especially on the large entities that report to parliament under the Financial Management Act 1994
  • introducing Class A and Class B cemetery trusts
  • introducing the annual cemetery levy payable by Class A cemetery trusts
  • making some housekeeping changes to improve the administration of the Act.