After a decade of concerted effort, crucial legislation was passed on Friday 21 June 2024 by the NSW parliament ensuring the future of Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria as a charitable cemetery operator.

This means Catholic Cemeteries can continue to provide accessible, equitable and affordable burial services to Sydney siders of all cultural and religious backgrounds as it has for over 150 years.

Introduced by Minister for Lands and Property, Steve Kamper, the Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria Trust Bill 2024 was aimed at implementing the two-operator model for Crown cemeteries, with the other operator the state-controlled Metropolitan Memorial Park.

 “We are getting on with fixing the cemeteries sector, strengthening the industry regulator to be a solid cop on the beat and ensuring there are strong consumer protections for people at a very vulnerable time,” Minister Steve Kamper said.

The legislation provides certainty and clarifies the purpose of the Catholic Cemeteries Trust as providing burials for all and addresses the growing burial space pressures of Sydney’s faith groups.

Mr Kazi Ali OAM, President of the Muslim Cemeteries Board and veteran of the cemeteries sector congratulated Steve Kamper and his ministerial staff for finally bringing the matter to a conclusion.

Ground Breaking Ceremony on 27 February 2020 at Macarthur Memorial Park.  Former CEO of Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria, late Mr Peter O’Meara (left).

Mr Ali has been working closely with the Catholic Cemeteries organisation for many years to facilitate the provision of affordable burial places for the Muslim community in accordance with Islamic guidelines.

Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria CEO, Ms Lauren Hardgrove has achieved this milestone just twelve months into the role, continuing to build on the legacy of former CEO late Mr Peter O’Meara, one year after his passing.

Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria CEO, Ms Lauren Hardgrove with guests at Macarthur Memorial Park.

Ms Hardgrove’s leadership during challenging times not only demonstrates her unwavering commitment to drive the essential changes needed to fulfil Catholic Cemeteries’ mission.

She said the law marks the end of almost a decade of indecision and uncertainty for the organisation, which received more than 30 letters of support from major faith groups on the bill.

“It’s closure for us. This ensures that Catholic Cemeteries successor entity continues to operate as a charitable cemetery operator in this space, providing services not only for Catholics, but those of all faiths and those of none,” Ms Hardgrove said.

She further added, “Looking forward, we can focus on our new cemetery we’re building at Macarthur Memorial Park, to open in April next year.” The memorial park is the first Crown cemetery to be developed in Sydney for almost 80 years.

Catholic Cemeteries operates not-for-profit cemeteries at Kemps Creek, Liverpool and Rookwood Catholic. There are dedicated lawns for the Muslim community at Kemps Creek and the new Macarthur location.