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Cemetery approved to meet critical shortage of burial plots


The NSW Independent Planning Commission has recommended for approval a Crown cemetery at Varroville, proposed by the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust following extensive community consultation.

Community leaders have welcomed the approved development of the new multi-faith cemetery on the outskirt of Sydney to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and diverse multi-cultural population.

A 2017 government report found that if there is no change to existing cremation and grave occupancy rates, cemetery capacity in metropolitan Sydney would be exhausted by 2051.

Once completed, the new cemetery is forecast to add 88,000 burial plots over the next 100 years to meet the needs of the 30 per cent of Sydneysiders whose preference is burial, rather than cremation.

CEO of the not-for-profit Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, Mr Peter O’Meara said the approval means the trust can now help future generations meet the challenges of declining burial space in Sydney.

“This approval ensures the interment practices and beliefs of all religious and cultural groups are respected and provided for. We welcome everyone to these world-class facilities and public recreational spaces”, he said.

Chairman of the Riverstone Muslim Cemetery Board, Mr Kazi Ali said the lack of burial space has created a real crisis for his community and the new multi-faith cemeteries are long overdue.

“Our cemetery space is close to capacity and with the Muslim community forecast to continue growing over the coming decades, new cemeteries are critical.” Mr Ali said.

The Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Mr Vic Alhadeff has also welcomed the plans.

“We are due to run out of graves available for purchase in Sydney within five years and these new cemeteries will provide for our community’s burial needs at least until the end of the century”, he said.

The site at Varroville will include passive recreation areas, gardens and landscaped walkways accessible to everyone in the community that will protect these sites in perpetuity.