Dying To Get In: Sydney’s Cemetery Shortage

Sydneysiders are facing housing issues under the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. The problem is getting worse, that even the dead have nowhere to live.

A recent audit by the NSW Planning Department on cemeteries in Sydney revealed a cemetery shortage, with multiple faith groups running out of burial places in less than three years.

The Eastern Orthodox faith, which includes Greek Orthodox, will run out of grave space in four and a half years.

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So, how have we found ourselves in such a dire situation? And what can we do to ensure we will continue to have space for our loved ones to rest in peace?

On today’s This Arvo In Sydney, host Sacha Barbour Gatt and LiSTNR news producer Simon Beaton spoke to Spiro Haralambous, the Principal of Euro Funeral Services, to get his perspective on what it is actually like to bury someone in Sydney right now.

Mr Haralambous said many of the Christian faiths and non-Christian faiths require burial.

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I can say confidently that we will run out of space shortly. Not it could be four (years), it could be five (years). But I don’t think they are too far off the mark.”

The three Crown cemetery managers, including Rookwood General, Northern Metropolitan and Southern Metropolitan, have been merged and tasked with increasing the amount of grave space in Sydney.

The new entity will be named the Metropolitan Cemeteries and Crematoria Land Manager and is in line with the government’s commitment to establishing a two-operator model for Crown cemeteries.

Lands and property minister Steve Kamper said:

This merger will provide certainty for the industry, staff and consumers and a clear path to better manage our cemeteries so that the city’s burial needs are met, and we can identify new efficiencies.”

Hosted by Sacha Barbour, This Arvo in Sydney is a 10 to 12 minute daily news podcast made just for Sydney! Listen now on the Listnr app.