The NSW Government will merge the five existing Crown cemetery operators in metropolitan Sydney into one, after a statutory review found a danger of financial collapse.

The proposed consolidation of the cemetery operators, who were found to have debts of more than $300 million, will secure the financial future of the Crown cemetery sector.

This will ensure that cemetery space is accessible and affordable for everyone.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey, said the formation of a single entity for Crown cemeteries, known as ‘OneCrown’, is a key recommendation from the independent Statutory Review of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2013.

“The review found the five existing Crown cemetery operators are collectively facing combined unfunded liabilities of more than $300 million and Sydney is fast running out of cemetery space,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Consolidation will ensure the financial sustainability of the sector, allowing us to strategically address the need for more cemetery space while delivering culturally relevant and affordable interment services.”

“The single operator will support consistent, transparent and affordable pricing across all Crown cemeteries to better support consumers, and ensure available land into the future,” Mrs Pavey said.

The NSW Government will appoint Lee Shearer as Administrator, as the first step towards the establishment of OneCrown, taking on the functions of the boards of the five Crown cemetery operators.

This includes overseeing the recruitment of a single, multi-faith, multi-disciplinary skills-based board that will manage OneCrown’s operations, establishing an advisory group to ensure the interests of all faiths are represented at all times, looking after the day-to-day management of cemeteries, acquiring and developing new cemetery land.

In the immediate term, there will be no change to the operation of Crown cemeteries, with existing staff continuing in their roles.

The report of the Statutory Review can be viewed here.