There has been considerable discussion in recent times about the proposed sale of churches and cemeteries by the Anglican Church throughout Tasmania.
Understandably, the concerns raised by many are about arrangements relating to the management of cemeteries and what any potential sale will mean for families in terms of visitation and caring for cemeteries in the future.
As the Minister for Local Government, I am responsible for the Burial and Cremation Act 2002. The Government is committed to use all of its legislative power to ensure that the rights of community members who have relatives buried in Anglican cemeteries and including those of other religion denominations, are protected.
It may be necessary to amend the Act to ensure these rights are clearly defined and properly protected.
Like many Tasmanians my family is affected by the proposed asset sales. The Patersonia Church and Cemetery where members of my own family are buried, is being sold. As the responsible Minister should changes to the Burial and Cremation Act 2002 be required, I believe I would have a conflict of interest through my family’s association with the Patersonia cemetery.
Therefore, I have asked that the Attorney-General oversee any potential changes to the Act.