Have you ever been told you can’t place a memorial supplied by Forever Shining in the cemetery of your choice?
Freedom of Choice
Forever Shining has surveyed nine government run cemetery businesses, which manage a total of 43 cemeteries across all the states and territories in Australia. Only 11 of those cemeteries allow their customers to choose their own memorials supplier.
Misinformation at the front counter
On further investigation some of the cemetery trusts may allow you to use, for example, a bronze plaque supplied by Forever Shining. However there is a clear disconnect in these cases. The front counter staff will tell you that you have to use their supplier.
If you question this, and end up speaking with the chief operating officer or someone more senior, you may be told “It depends…”. And then you might have to begin the complicated process of figuring out how to go about getting approval to install your plaque. My guess is most grieving people would have given up at the front counter.
Level playing field
All Australian government run businesses are expected to adhere to competitive neutrality policies to ensure a level playing field for government and private enterprises.
The cemeteries business
The business of cemeteries is selling plots and maintaining cemetery grounds.
Many cemeteries raise additional revenue by selling combined plot and monument packages. That’s fine if the package suits your needs. But what if you’re looking for a more personal or innovative memorial, which isn’t available from the cemetery’s catalogue? With many cemeteries it’s simply a take it or leave it offer. Shouldn’t they be offering you freedom of choice?
Why do the cemeteries need to compete with stonemasons and memorials suppliers for additional business in the first place? They already have a monopoly on the land. Is it because the suppliers are lining the cemetery staff’s pockets?
There is a long history of inappropriate practices and corruption within the industry.
- An audit of 15 cemeteries revealed corruption in Victoria’s cemetery industry in 2006
- An investigation at Rookwood Cemetery in NSW unearthed a litany of questionable business dealings in 2013.
Bad things happen
When cemeteries lock you in to using their supplier three bad things happen
- Innovation is stifled
- Prices are not competitive
- Personalisation is limited
How you can help
At Forever Shining we’re working to make the cemeteries play fair, so you can choose modern, durable and innovative memorials to celebrate your memories. We’re collecting evidence in order to change unfair cemetery policies.
You can help by letting us know if you have ever been told by a cemetery that you can only use their supplier. All we need is the name of the cemetery, and the kind of plaque or memorial you wanted to use.