New community group to map the future of Sydney Cemeteries

4 July 2022
Image: Simeon Muller/Unsplash.


A new Stakeholder Engagement Council (SEC) has been established to map the future of Sydney’s cemeteries, enlisting 15 community representatives from a broad range of faiths and communities in NSW.

The council includes members of the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindi, Indigenous, Filipino, and Catholic communities (list below), and will report to the board of Catholic Cemeteries & Crematoria.

The first meeting of the council was held on June 23, chaired by community and consumer campaigner Christopher Zinn who has served on the board of the NSW regulator of cemeteries and crematoria.

Mr Zinn said “Our first meeting recognised the urgent need for more burial spaces in Sydney, especially among the fast-growing Muslim population, which like some other faiths, have traditions which require they bury their dead.

“The council is committed to ensure that communities and consumers’ diverse needs and views, regardless of their faith or even lack of it, are catered for in respectful and affordable ways in the process of funerals, burials and cremations”, he added.

The objectives of the SEC include:

  • The interment practices and beliefs of all religious and cultural groups are respected equally
  • The quality of interment products and services meet community expectations
  • And affordable and accessible interment practices are available for all, particularly for those of limited means.

Mr Zinn concluded, “We want the SEC to advise and help us better understand how cemetery operators can deliver the best possible experience to families, consumers, cultural and faith groups so we can continue to serve the community now with the Catholic trust’s four existing cemeteries and two more to be developed”.

Members of the Stakeholder Engagement Council (SEC) that has been established to map the future of Sydney’s cemeteries. Image: Giovanni Portelli Photography/Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria/Supplied

The council members are:

  • Mariam Ardati from the Muslim Community
  • Rosette Shamoun from the Chaldean and Assyrian Community
  • Barry Barakat from the Maronite Catholic Community
  • Darren Bark from the Jewish Community
  • Peter Murphy from the Baptist Community
  • Auntie Lisa Hunter from the Dharawal Indigenous Community
  • Kazi Ali from the Muslim Community
  • Jhun Salazar from the Filipino Community
  • Dean Fr John Ho from the Catholic, Vietnamese and Polynesian Communities
  • Lourdes Kaiser from the Filipino Community
  • Albert Olley from the Uniting Community
  • Dominic Niezgoda from the Polish Community
  • Ayya Suvira from the Buddhist Community
  • Shefali Pal from the Hindu Community
  • Diane Van Aken from the Indigenous and Catholic Community.

Public consultation is now open on the Interment Industry Scheme until 31 July 2022. We will let you know, via Catholic Cemeteries, when the Faith Forum is being held – likely to be around 12 – 15 July. An online community webinar is already scheduled for Tuesday 19 July from 5.30 to 6.30pm, which you can register for here:

In terms of in-language access:

  • The survey is in 10 languages.
  • The website landing page is in many languages as there is an inbuilt option/function to translate on the webpage using Google Translate.
  • The newspaper ads are in multiple languages as per the CALD media publications and link to the social pinpoint landing page.

Additional information can be found via the following websites:

CCNSW website:

Consultation page:

With thanks to Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria.


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