The Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (CMCT) has come to the rescue of Sydney’s Muslim community with 4,500 new burial spaces to be provided for them at Kemps Creek Cemetery.
Expected to fill the demand for Muslim burial spaces for 10 years, the spaces were sought urgently as the Muslim traditional burial grounds, Riverstone Cemetery, is expected to be full this year and Rookwood Cemetery spaces will expire in the next few years.
A number of senior Muslim leaders attended a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the CMCT.
Mr Peter O’Meara, the CEO of the CMCT, said “being a multi-denominational and not for profit cemetery operator, CMCT is keen to help any religious and cultural group in meeting their needs for burial spaces amid the dwindling supply in Sydney.
“It is expected that Sydney will run out of burial spaces over the next 25 years and we are working to alleviate this problem with the acquisition of sites at Campbelltown and Wallacia which will deliver more than 220,000 burial spaces to Sydney”, he said.
The reference to Campbelltown relates to controversial CMCT plans for a cemetery at Varroville.
CMCT says it is expected that 30 per cent of families in Sydney – predominantly Muslims, Jews and Christians – will continue to seek burials instead of cremations in the future.
The Cemeteries and Crematoria Act recognises the right of all to a dignified interment to ensure the interment practices of all religious and cultural groups are respected and provided for.
The Kemps Creek Cemetery, located 15 minutes from Liverpool, serves all denominations in the community and provides affordable burial and cremation options, with rolling lawns and tranquil lake views surrounded by native bushland.
The 15 hectare memorial park offers the community a rural alternative to other cemeteries in built-up areas.
Mr O’Meara said “We look forward to a continued, long association with the Muslim and Jewish communities in Sydney and call on the NSW Government to approve our proposed cemeteries to fill the ongoing demand for burial spaces and to ensure future generations have equitable access to interment options”.
CMCT also manages burial grounds on behalf of the Crown, including the Catholic section of Rookwood, Kemps Creek, Liverpool, North Rocks and Greendale. All proceeds remain in trust for future cemetery development and maintenance.