New laws to protect burial rights

The final resting places of family members, friends and loved ones, will be better protected under proposed laws introduced to State Parliament this week.

The new laws would allow for better enforcement of interment rights, ensuring they are honoured even if a cemetery or natural burial ground were to change hands.

Tough penalties would apply to any cemetery authority that fails to meet its obligations – with individuals fined up to $10,000 and body corporates up to $20,000.

In addition, it would be illegal to remove cremated remains from an interment site, without the consent of the rights holder or their representative.

“Laying a loved one to rest can be a very emotional time, so it is essential we do all we can to give grieving South Australians some level of comfort and security,” Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said.

“These new laws will ensure interment rights are enforced, regardless of whether the cemetery or natural burial ground changes hands.”

In instances where a breach is inadvertent, such as when a cemetery authority has made reasonable efforts to identity the interment rights holder but failed, a defence will be available.

Similarly, the removal of cremated remains will be allowed where it is necessary for repair, maintenance and upgrades to the cemetery or natural burial ground.

“These places are very special to family members, so it is essential their rights are protected as best as possible,” Attorney-General Chapman said.