Prior to 2009 the Shire’s cemeteries were managed by community committees, convened under section 355 of the Local Government Act 1993. At Council’s Ordinary Meeting of 18 August 2009, a comprehensive review of cemetery management and burial administration activities was tabled. The centre piece of this review was an independent peer assessment conducted by Pierre du Parte, Bereavement Services Manager for Shoalhaven City Council which considered all aspects of Councils cemetery management, burial administration practices and engaged cemetery committees, funeral directors and Council’s contract grave digger. The report is titled ‘Peer review report of Bega Valley Shire cemeteries operations’.
The Shire’s cemetery management has developed significantly since the time of that initial review and several of the recommendations do not apply today.
In 2018 Kategic Solutions were engaged to assist Council in the development of a strategic plan for Council’s cemeteries. Kategic Solutions conducted a thorough review of cemetery operations and consultation to gauge the communities’ feedback and views on the Shire’s cemeteries.
Australian Government legislation guides the management of cemetery services. Council’s local laws outline Council’s policy, guidelines and procedures regarding the operation and use of cemeteries within its network.
This plan informs the development of an action plan for the current cemetery network and sets the direction for increasing cemetery capacity for the Bega Valley Shire local government area. The plan provides the direction to shape Council’s cemetery network over the next 10 years. The plan is not static; it is agile and will be responsive to the evolving needs and preferences of the community.
Bega Valley Shire Council is seeking community feedback on its draft Cemetery Plan 2020–2030.
The draft plan sets out how Council will manage the existing 14 cemeteries across our Shire over the next 10 years providing a framework for the delivery of cemetery services, managing the ongoing financial obligations and addressing the key challenges and opportunities for future years.
A key element of the plan is the funding model to ensure we can continue to maintain our existing cemeteries to a high standard and ensure the long-term sustainability of the Shire’s cemeteries. The plan proposes four (4) financial modelling options. Council resolved at its Ordinary Meeting of 16 December 2020, to endorse financial modelling option four (4). This option proposes a combination of general fund subsidy and an overall modest increase of 4% in fees for a burial. This will see the cemetery operations return to surplus and maintain the cemetery reserve at $200k to allow the funding of necessary expansion and essential maintenance into the future and is seen as a more longer-term sustainable model.
Have Your Say on the Cemetery Plan 2020-203:
The Plan allows Bega Valley Shire Council to address key challenges and opportunities when determining operational planning and budgets for future years. The Plan is Council’s commitment to the community that we will provide choice as to where they can be laid to rest. We will also provide peaceful places for family and friends to gather and commemorate their loved ones and allow ongoing connections between people and place. Places that honour the unique identity of each cemetery.