1069. Hon ALISON XAMON to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for Local Government:
I refer to the ABC Four Corners report on the funeral industry aired on Monday, 23 September 2019, which detailed several appalling incidents of undignified practices in the funeral industry.
(1) What oversight mechanisms are in place to ensure that the “Code of Conduct for Metropolitan Cemeteries Board Licenced Funeral Directors 2019/2020” is upheld?
(2) Are unannounced inspections of funeral homes and back-of-house preparation facilities undertaken?
(3) What penalties are available should a funeral director or staff member be found to be acting in breach of the code?
Hon SUE ELLERY replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1) The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board actively investigates any complaints of breach. The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board liaises with funeral directors and provides training and education programs to help develop and uphold industry standards. The code is updated annually to reflect any changes required.
(2) Section 17(3) of the Cemeteries Act provides —
The Board, or a person authorised by resolution of the Board for the purpose, may at any reasonable time inspect the facilities and equipment of an applicant for or the holder of a funeral director’s licence ...
(3) The MCB may, in writing, cancel the licence of a funeral director. If a funeral director or an employee is found to have breached the funeral director’s licence conditions of issue, including the code of conduct, other outcomes may include suspension of a funeral director’s licence; introduction or changes to administrative policies, procedures or practices; referral to another government agency such as the Department of Commerce consumer protection division, Western Australia Police Force, Department of Health or other relevant agency; or redress from the company involved in the breach. Fines may also be issued for breaches of the act.