Cemeteries and burials

The Cemeteries Act 1986 (the Act) requires all deceased persons to be buried in proclaimed cemeteries administered by responsible trustees, with appropriate records being kept in perpetuity.

The trustees' role ensures the proper and lawful burial of dead bodies and that deceased persons are treated with respect across the generations, with gravesites accessible to all who may wish to visit them in the future.

The Act does allow burial on land that is not a gazetted cemetery, subject to the prior approval of the Minister for Local Government, but considered in the most exceptional circumstances.

Statutory requirements

The Minister may authorise, under Section 12 of the Act, burial on land that is reserved for the purpose of burials under the Land Administration Act 1997. An application for authorisation must satisfy the requirement that the burial is to take place in 'an area that is visibly set apart and distinguishable as a burial place'.


The department's role is to process applications seeking authorisation and assess considerations for exceptional circumstances. The burials outside a proclaimed cemetery application form contains contact details and notes to guide applicants.

Policy on burials outside proclaimed cemeteries

Funerals and reducing the spread of COVID-19


From the 5 December 2020, it will be mandatory for particular business and venues including funeral parlours to collect contact details of patrons, staff, visitors and contractors for COVID-19 contact tracing, if required. 


To help businesses and venues, the WA Government has developed the SafeWA app. This is a free system that uses QR codes to register attendance. It's quick, convenient, easy to use and contactless.  


It's not mandatory to use Safe WA, but it is encouraged. 


For further information on contact registers, please visit COVID-19 coronavirus: Contact registers (www.wa.gov.au) 


Existing provisions, including the need for attendees to comply with physical distancing requirements (2 square metres per person), remain. Funerals with more than 500 people, are also considered an event under current COVID restrictions and will need an Event Plan. For further information on COVID Safe Events, please visit: Events registration (health.wa.gov.au)



For more information, please visit COVID-19


Page reviewed 31 July 2019