A new Burial and Cremation Bill introduced into Parliament will replace the current Cemeteries Act that was based on a 67 year-old Commonwealth Ordinance inherited by the Northern Territory at Self Government.
The new legislation has been revised to better reflect contemporary practices and the wishes of the Northern Territory community in relation to burials, cremations and the handling of loved ones’ remains.
Stakeholders, including local authorities and councils, industry groups, land councils and government agencies provided feedback that was used to inform the drafting of the new Bill. Public consultations were held throughout the Northern Territory.
The new Act will recognise cemeteries on Aboriginal land for the first time, allowing for these cemeteries to be declared and regulated.
Local government councils will manage all public and community cemeteries within their areas, including the maintenance of accurate burial records. Where it is more appropriate, local organisations will be able to manage cemeteries on Aboriginal land.
The new legislation will ensure that:
- human remains continue to be treated with dignity and respect;
- burial and cremation records, such as registers, are kept and maintained;
- different practices and beliefs regarding the burial or cremation of human remains are accommodated; and
- cemeteries on Aboriginal land are recognised.
Source: NT Government