Topic 1: Legislation

Review of the Cemeteries Act 1986 and Cremation Act 1929


Given the legislation relating to cemeteries and crematoria currently falls across the State Government portfolios of health and local government, it may be argued that treating burials and cremations under 2 different legislative schemes is inefficient and creates an unnecessary administrative burden on members of the funeral industry and the general public. As such, topic 1 proposes an option to combine the content of both Acts into a single Act.

In determining whether the Cemeteries Act and the Cremation Act should be combined, other considerations include the nature and quantity of amendments to be made to the legislation, current legislative drafting standards and practices, and which Minister and State agency would be responsible for administering the legislation.

Other jurisdictions

In most other jurisdictions, the management of cemeteries, burials and cremations are dealt with by a single Act. For example, in South Australia, burials and cremations are regulated by the Burial and Cremation Act 2013 (SA Act) and is administered by the South Australian Attorney General’s Department, which falls under the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister for Planning and Local Government. Alternatively in New South Wales, the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2013 (NSW Act) is administered by the Minister for Lands and Water.

In Queensland, while cremations are governed by the Cremations Act 2003 (QLD Cremations Act), other methods of disposal are not regulated by statute. Burials and cremations in Queensland are generally regulated by local government authorities under local laws and may be further regulated by State policy in relation to health or environmental impacts. Under the Burials Assistance Act 1965 (QLD Burials Act), the Department of Justice and Attorney-General is authorised to make funeral arrangements for persons who have died in Queensland with no known next of kin who are willing or able to meet the cost of a funeral service. The QLD Cremations Act and the QLD Burials Act are both administered by the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

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Issues and reform options for topic 1

Topic 1: Legislation


Issue 1: There are currently 2 separate Acts dealing with cemeteries and cremations.

Reform options

Option 1: Retain status quo


  • Ministers and State agencies retain legislative schemes (no change).


  • Current arrangement may be viewed as inefficient and places an unnecessary administrative burden on the funeral industry and general public.

Option 2: Combine the content of both Acts into a single Act


  • Single Ministerial portfolio may result in greater administrative efficiencies.


  • Minister and State agency responsible for administering the legislation would need to be determined and appropriately resourced.

If you think that the content of the Cemeteries Act and the Cremation Act should be combined into a single Act, which State Government portfolio should be responsible for administering the Act?

Page reviewed 16 November 2023