The cost of being buried in a Blayney Shire cemetery has increased by 150 per cent since July 1, an increase that Craig Ostini from Penhall’s Funerals said came as a complete surprise.
“A person had died a few days before July 1 and we’d given them a quote on the second or third of July for a burial at Lyndhurst.
“The prices at places like Lyndhurst, Neville, Carcoar and Hobby’s Yard were all $1003 before July 1, but we received notification after that date that the prices were going up to $2530,” Mr Ostini said.
General manager of Blayney Shire Council, Rebecca Ryan, said that council had put all its new charges on public display before July 1 and during the assessment process had noticed that Blayney Shire was inconsistent with surrounding councils.
“We’ve streamlined our fees for burial sites because our previous charges were being used in a way that they weren’t intended,” she said.
At the crux of the problem was that Blayney, unlike many other councils, had two prices, one for locals and one for non-residents.
“The price for a resident was half the price for that of a non-resident,” Ms Ryan said
“So we were having the situation where someone who lived here thirty years ago and had left the shire, was being called a resident so that they could get a cheaper rate,”
Mr Ostini said that the firm was now in the process of adjusting all their prices for burials in Blayney, especially on those that had taken out pre-paid policies.
“Nobody would have known that this had happened and it’s a huge increase, not just five or ten per cent,” he said.
“The prices now are pretty much the same as Orange and Bathurst and that includes the little old sites out at Hobby’s Yards.”
Ms Ryan said that Blayney council had more than one main cemetery to maintain.
“Council spends $45,000 every year maintaining the cemeteries across the shire and now our charges are more streamlined to bring them in with surrounding councils.”