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

Page reviewed 25 April 2021