Department of Health

Key messages

  • Victorian legislation that impacts on the operations of a cemetery trust

There may be other legislation that impacts on cemetery trusts, such as taxation legislation. This list is a guide only.

To provide for compulsory WorkCover insurance for employers under WorkCover insurance policies provided by WorkSafe agents and the payment of premiums for WorkCover insurance policies.

To provide for the conduct of efficient and effective financial and performance audits in the Victorian public sector. Cemetery trusts may be audited.

To provide for the registration of births, deaths and marriages and changes of name in Victoria. Death certificates are required before remains may be buried or cremated.

To provide for the regulation of building and building standards. All buildings and structures erected in a cemetery must comply with the relevant building regulations. New structures or additions must be constructed in accordance with a valid building permit.

To set up a framework for the integrated management and protection of catchments, to set up a system of controls on noxious weeds and pest animals, and to encourage community participation in managing land and water resources.

To provide for the management and operation of cemeteries and crematoria.

The Charter is an agreed set of human rights, freedoms and responsibilities protected by law. Government departments and public bodies, including cemetery trusts, must observe these rights when they create laws, set policies and provide services. Cemetery trusts are required to act in a way that is consistent with the human rights protected under the Charter, comply with the Charter, and take human rights into account in their day-to-day operations.

To require the reporting of certain deaths and set out the procedures for investigations and inquests by coroners. A coroner’s report may be required before remains are buried or cremated.

Provides for the reservation of Crown lands for certain purposes and for management of such reserved lands. A public cemetery may only be established on Crown land reserved or deemed to be reserved for the purposes of cemeteries and crematoria.

To promote the safety of people and property when using dangerous goods or importing explosives into Victoria, and to ensure adequate precautions are taken regarding dangerous goods.

The purpose of this Act is to make further provision relating to the safety of electricity supply and use, and the efficiency of electrical equipment.

To promote recognition and acceptance of everyone’s right to equality of opportunity, to eliminate discrimination against people, to eliminate sexual harassment and to provide redress for people who have been discriminated against or sexually harassed. Cemetery trusts must uphold the principles of this Act in every capacity.

To protect consumers and promote and encourage fair trading practices and a competitive and fair market. Cemetery trusts must comply with this Act.

The requirements regarding the establishment/replacement of fences are set out under the Fences Act 1968.

The purpose of this Act is to establish a legal and administrative structure to enable and promote the conservation of Victoria’s native flora and fauna, and to provide for a choice of procedures that can be used for the conservation, management or control of flora and fauna and managing potentially threatening processes. Cemetery trusts must consider the conservation of native flora and fauna on each of their cemetery sites.

To extend as far as possible the right of the community to access information in the possession of the government of Victoria and other bodies constituted under the law of Victoria. This includes cemetery trusts.

To enhance consumer protection by regulating the funeral industry and strengthening enforcement and inspection powers, and to improve how the funeral industry is monitored and how it delivers services and information to the public. Knowledge of this Act will help cemetery trusts work with funeral directors.

Consolidates the laws relating to the sale of goods and contracts of sale.

To promote fair and responsible handling of health information.

To establish a regime for the responsible collection and handling of personal information in the Victorian public sector. This includes cemetery trusts.

To establish procedures for acquiring land for public purposes and provide determination of the compensation payable regarding land so acquired. A cemetery trust with the approval of the Minister may purchase or acquire land for the purposes of a public cemetery.

An Act to consolidate the law relating to the sale and occupation of Crown land.

This Act supports systems of local government. Knowledge of this Act will help cemetery trusts work with local government.

To secure the health and safety of employees and other people at work. A cemetery trust has a duty to provide a safe and healthy worksite for workers, including voluntary workers and contract workers (for example, gravediggers and monumental masons) whether or not employed by the trust. Any incident that results, or may have resulted, in personal injury must be promptly reported to WorkSafe.

To provide powers to investigate administrative actions taken by, or on behalf of, government departments and other authorities. One of the avenues of formal appeal against a decision made by a cemetery trust is through a review of the decision by the Ombudsman.

To provide a framework for good governance in the Victorian public sector and in public administration generally in Victoria. Part 5 of this Act deals with the operations and governance of public entities, such as cemetery trusts. Under s. 4 of this Act, cemetery trust members, as directors on the board of a public entity, are public officials and, as such, are subject to the Director’s code of conduct issued by the Public Sector Standards Commissioner. The purpose of the Code is to promote adherence to the public sector values.

Establishes a framework for planning the use, development and protection of land in Victoria in the present and long-term interests of all Victorians. The planning scheme of the local municipality should contain a reference to, and indicate that, land designated for cemetery purposes is zoned in a public-use zone (PUZ). Trusts are advised to liaise with the relevant planning authority concerning their development proposals and before commencing any major works.

To consolidate the law relating to public health.

To provide for better preservation management and utilisation of the public records of the state of Victoria. Cemetery trusts must ensure records are kept in relation to interments, places of interments, cremations and rights of interment. These records must be provided to any person when requested for historical or research purposes. For further details, see Part 4 of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act.

To promote racial and religious tolerance by prohibiting certain conduct involving the vilification of people on the grounds of race or religious belief or activity. Cemetery trusts must behave in a way that is tolerant of all races and religions.

Establishes the general principles that apply to road management.

Cemetery trust vehicles (including tractors and trailers) driven on public roads are required to be registered. If a cemetery is on Crown land, its defined roads are considered to be public roads.

To establish the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). A holder of a right of interment may apply to VCAT to review a cemetery trust’s decision relating to approving, or refusing to approve, the establishment or altering of a memorial or place of interment.

To establish the VMIA to assist departments and participating bodies to develop programs to identify, quantify and manage risks, and to act as an insurer for, or provide insurance services to, departments and participating bodies. This is the general insurance cover for all cemetery trusts,
as arranged by the Department of Health and Human Services.

To promote the orderly, equitable and efficient use of water resources and to make sure water resources are conserved and properly managed for sustainable use for the benefit of present and future Victorians.

To encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies, and to provide protection for people who make disclosures. This Act applies to cemetery trusts because they are public entities.

In addition, Commonwealth legislation that may also have an impact on a cemetery trust includes the Trade Practices Act 1974, taxation (PAYE, GST, FBT) and employment law.

Reviewed 18 October 2023


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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