Department of Health

Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003

Key messages

  • The Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 (the Act) governs the operation of Victoria’s cemeteries and crematoria sector.
  • Amendments have been made to the Act through the Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Act 2009 and Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment (Veterans Reform) Act 2015.
  • Further amendments to the Act were passed by Parliament in March 2021 through the Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Act 2021 (the Amendment Act)The Amendment Act enables a new directions power for the department’s Secretary and makes a number of other technical amendments.

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

Changes to the Act

The Cemeteries and Crematoria Amendment Act 2021 (the Amendment Act) was passed by both houses of Parliament and received Royal Assent on 18 May 2021. 

The Amendment Act commences in two stages as follows:

  • Parts 1, 2 and 4 give effect to the new Secretary’s directions power and commenced on 15 November 2021.
  • Part 3 which includes other miscellaneous and technical amendments will commence on 1 March 2022. These other amendments will clarify ambiguity and update references to improve the administration and sector’s understanding of the Act.

The new directions power enables the department’s Secretary 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.

More information about the Secretary’s directions power and the application process is available on the Seeking variation or forced surrender of a right of interment held by another person webpage.

The Amendment Act and Explanatory Memorandum are available on the Victorian Legislation website.

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.

Reviewed 26 November 2021

Health.vic

Contact details

Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm

Cemetery Sector Governance Support GPO Box 4057, Melbourne, VIC 3001

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