A report by the Department of Human Services (VIC, AU) questions the long-term viability of the state’s nine crematoriums, which are owned and operated by public cemetery trusts and are on Crown land. According to the report Melbourne’s five crematoriums – Fawkner, Springvale, Lilydale, Dandenong South and Altona – were operating at 52 per cent of capacity. As a consequence the State Government of Victoria (AU) will not approve any proposals to expand crematory services.
The report said there was a significant oversupply of crematoriums, particularly in Melbourne, and that their profits might not be sustainable in the long term. As a consequenc the department will not endorse any further use of public funds for new crematoriums until a financial analysis of facilities has been made.
The secretary of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Association of Victoria, Philip Bachelor, said yesterday that Melbourne’s crematoriums could cope with demand.
Dr Bachelor, the manager of technical services at the Fawkner Crematorium and Memorial Park, said there was not enough work for Melbourne’s existing crematoriums due largely to a stable mortality rate.
Victoria has 561 public cemeteries that are administered by 526 cemetery trusts.
The trusts comprise volunteer members who are appointed by the governor-in-council after a recommendation by the health minister. Of the 526 trusts, 14 are required to report yearly to Parliament.
Each trust is responsible for the management of cemeteries under its control.