Following years of debate and discussion, construction of a Gungahlin crematorium, to be Canberra’s second, will be brought forward and is due to be operational come October.
The announcement sees the ACT Government moving into line with every other State and Territory in the country by providing publicly run cremation services.
The ACT currently has just one crematorium, a privately owned facility at Norwood Park in Mitchell, and with a current cremation rate of around 75%, there is a need for additional cremation services.
ACT Minister for City Services, Chris Steel, said the new facility will meet the needs of Canberra’s growing population and culturally diverse community.
“We have one crematorium for a city of over 425,000 people,” he said.
“We’re committed to ensuring that everyone can access cemetery and crematorium services as the city grows. We have a vibrant multicultural community and it’s important that people have access to the services they need here, rather than having to travel interstate.”
In 2018, the ACT Government engaged with the community on a review of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003.
Feedback from that engagement process showed one in 10 people with a religious or cultural need in relation to burial or cremation didn’t have that need met by existing services in Canberra.
Further consultation indicated that this need is largely in relation to cremations.
“The design of the crematorium reflects feedback received during the community consultation last year to better meet the needs of our Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain communities,” Mr Steel said.
Stage 1 of construction of the Gungahlin crematorium will involve the installation of the cremator and cremation facility. Stage 2 will involve the building of viewing rooms to meet the cultural and religious needs of the community.
“Once the crematorium is operational, work on the viewing room, landscaping and access between the crematorium and other facilities will be progressed and is expected to be complete in December 2020,” Mr Steel said.
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