Burials in the State of Western Australia are governed by the
Cemeteries Act 1986. The Act effectively provides that a person cannot be buried in a place other than a cemetery that has not been closed.
The Minister does, however, have the power to authorise a burial in a place other than a proclaimed cemetery. Specifically:
S12. Minister may authorise burial
The Minister may authorise the burial of a dead body in a place other than a cemetery where:
The Minister will exercise his discretion in exceptional circumstances. This paper outlines the basis on which the Minister will make the decision and sets out the process for applying for approval.
It is important that a deceased person is treated with respect.
If a decision is made by that person and/or their family that burial is the chosen method of disposal, a number of matters need to be taken into account:
Consequently, the most appropriate place for a burial to occur is in a proclaimed cemetery. These are managed under the
Cemeteries Act 1986 in perpetuity by cemetery boards or local government authorities, which have the expertise and resources necessary to maintain both the land and the cemeteries in good condition.
You cannot require that private land is kept in the family indefinitely into the future.
Burial on private land could therefore potentially cause problems for the sellers of land as buyers may be unwilling to purchase land on which there are graves. It is also problematic for potential buyers as the burial compromises the current
and future use of the land. It is strongly recommended that all burials on private land be registered with Landgate on the Certificate of Title to ensure that all potential buyers, or others with an interest in the land, are fully informed.
In certain circumstances, the Minister may direct you to register the burial on the Certificate of Title as a condition of approval.
Burial on private land can also lead to graves which are damaged or no longer able to be identified and/or located due to stock grazing, pastoral activities, exposure to the elements, erosion or someone's actions, inadvertent or otherwise.
Families, including descendants, have no right of access. Access is dependent upon the approval of the current land owner. Although possible, making application to have remains exhumed and reinterred elsewhere when leaving the area is an involved
process requiring Ministerial approval, which can be both distressing and costly for all involved.
It is recognised that special circumstances may exist that could lead to the Minister giving approval for burial in a place other than a proclaimed cemetery. This will, however, only be given in very limited circumstances.
A number of factors are taken into account:
This is either:
Consideration will also be given to whether the granting of the request will create a risk to health or other nuisance, or cause reasonable offence to others. This may include requiring an environmental report to ensure any burial would not impact
on a public water supply or unreasonably damage the land. Any such ancillary costs will need to be borne by the applicant.
Land reserved under the
Land Administration Act 1997 for the purposes of burials includes those cemeteries that have been closed. In this situation, a person may request burial with other members of their family who are already buried there.
Complete the application form and send it to:
Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural IndustriesPO Box 8349 Perth Business Centre WA 6849Fax 61 8 6552 1555Email
For assistance, phone 61 8 6552 7300 or 1800 620 511 (toll free for country callers only)Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS): 13 14 50
We realise that this is a stressful time for families and we will make every effort to process the application quickly so that a decision can be made and you can make the necessary funeral arrangements. To help us, please ensure you fully complete
the application form and attach all of the necessary documents.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.