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 

The State Government recently introduced provisions to restrict the number of people who could attend a funeral in WA during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the updated provisions:

  • no more than 20 people can attend a funeral held indoors; or
  • no more than 30 people can attend a funeral held outdoors.

People who are needed to conduct the funeral, such as the funeral director and the funeral celebrant, are not included as part of these limits. However, all attendees at a funeral must comply with relevant social distancing requirements. 

An exemption from these limits can be applied for by completing the steps below.   

For more information on funerals and the COVID-19 restrictions, please refer to the department’s fact sheet. 

Application form — Exemption from funeral attendee limits

To apply for an exemption to allow more than 20 attendees to attend an indoor funeral or 30 attendees attend an outdoor funeral, an applicant is required to:

Funerals and Sorry Business

The Department of Health have developed a ‘Guide to Funerals and Sorry Business during COVID-19’. The guide provides helpful information on protecting elders and their mob during the pandemic. The guide can be found by following this link: 

Guide to Funerals and Sorry Business during COVID-19

Page reviewed 31 July 2019