Cemetery Operations Policy
The Cemetery Operations Policy was adopted at the Council meeting on 4th September 2018.
The policy aims to provide safe, consistent and socially acceptable standards and practices that will benefit members of the general public, Funeral Directors and Council workers as well as improve the aesthetics of our cemeteries.
The implementation of this policy will allow us to improve service standards to the cemetery.
It will also ensure the conduct of those entering the cemeteries is in accordance with reasonable and practical standards.
The Cemetery Operations Policy has been developed to improve the amenity and efficiency of the Council’s cemeteries at Albion Park and Shellharbour.
The policy is in response to four key areas:
- We've listened to concerns raised by our community about the look of our cemeteries
- We are developing frameworks around everything Council and the community does within the cemeteries
- To ensure that we manage our cemeteries in a way that is compliant with relevant legislation
- Safety concerns for the community and Council staff on the cemetery grounds, where alterations, embellishments and loose items can be a hazard.
The new policy puts in place rules about what is and is not permitted in the cemeteries. Alterations and embellishments to memorials and graves are not permitted. Existing embellishments that do not have written approval from Council will be removed.
Funeral Directors and Contractors will be expected to conduct ceremonies and work that is compliant with the policy and manual.
Yes. Once the policy is adopted, Council will undertake an audit and attempt to contact the family of any site that has unapproved alterations. Families will be given a grace period until 1 January 2019 to remove any unauthorised items, after which Council will begin removing any unauthorised items that remain.
- The policy will bring consistency to the look of our cemeteries, and improved safety and amenity.
- Our loved ones will be in place that we can all take pride in.
- It will make sure there are no encroachments onto adjoining plots.
- It will make maintenance easier, which increases efficiencies.
- It sets out clear expectations of funeral directors, contractors and the public.
- Council will be able to consistently and efficiently respond to any complaints or issues that arise.
Our cemetery team is responsible for mowing, snipping, weeding and general clean-ups, which take place on a regular schedule. They also prepare sites for burials and placements of ashes, and ensure the cemetery meets the needs of future burials.
Families will be given an opportunity to remove the items they have placed or built around their loved ones’ graves.
Council is proposing a transition phase for the implementation of this policy until 1 January 2019 and will be contacting families during this period. After this transition period, Council will begin removing any items that remain.
Council will hold items for collection for a period of time. After this time they will be disposed of, or recycled where possible.
Council has a database of names and contact details for each grave site, and we will endeavour to reach out directly to affected families. Where people may have moved on, we will reach out through social media, media, and on-site signage to inform them of the changes.
Families should endeavour to ensure your contact details are accurate and up-to-date, which you can do by calling the Cemeteries Team on 4221 6111.
Some families were given prior consent from Shellharbour City Council to construct embellishments or make alterations. This could be in the form of a letter or a small card. This approval must be produced and sighted by Council staff.
Council will not charge for the removal of any unsanctioned embellishments, items or alterations, however there will be no compensation for the costs incurred by their installation.