Mayor rubbishes cemetery proposal

Staff reporterGeraldton Guardian
File image of Geraldton Cemetery.
Camera IconFile image of Geraldton Cemetery. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn has blasted a State Government proposal for local governments to take on the management of cemeteries.

Mr Van Styn said the transfer of cemetery functions – as “encouraged” in a letter recently distributed by the State Government – was “unlikely” to happen in Geraldton.

He then accused the State Government of “piling services” on local Governments without increasing funding.

“The State Government have been increasing local government functions for decades without increasing any funding, and it is simply unacceptable,” Mr Van Styn said.

“We have a very competent and high functioning board that run the Geraldton Cemetery extremely well, and as a result we want to keep it that way.

“The State Government have told us to stick to what we do, but it’s proving difficult when they keep piling more services onto us but with no funding to run or implement these services.”

Geraldton Cemetery Board chair Max Correy said the proposed transfer was nonsensical, adding: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

“We have an extremely competent and proactive board with a broad mix of expertise such as legal, architectural, road construction, funeral industry and practicing successful business people who work hard to contribute to the local community,” Mr Correy said.

“We have done a lot of forward planning and work on the ground to ensure the Geraldton Cemetery is run extremely well and we see it as a standalone operation.”

Mr Correy has advised the Minister for Local Government management of Geraldton Cemetery, which has been managed by a board since its inception in 1951, should remain as is.

A City of Greater Geraldton spokeswoman said the city would “continue talks with the Department of Local Government to ensure a positive and mutual outcome”.

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