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  • The Legislative Assembly meets on 04/12/2020 (02:00 PM)
    Assembly sit 04/12/2020

Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1087 asked in the Legislative Council on 25 September 2019 by Hon Aaron Stonehouse

Minister responding: Hon D.A. Templeman
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 25 September 2019

KARRAKATTA CEMETERY RENEWAL PROGRAM

1087. Hon AARON STONEHOUSE to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for Local Government:

I refer the minister to the answer he provided to part (4) of my question without notice 1019 on Karrakatta renewal on Wednesday, 18 September. I thank him for confirming that a total of 42 requests for re-grants have been received this year, and that all 42 of those have been approved. In the pursuit of clarity, however, I ask the following.

(1) Is the minister aware of the case of Mrs Carolyn Trigwell, who approached the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board via email on 27 August 2019 asking whether her grandmother's grave, located in the Roman Catholic HA portion of Karrakatta Cemetery, close by that of Victoria Cross recipient Martin O'Meara, was eligible for a further 25-year re-grant?

(2) Is the minister further aware of the reply, sent by email on 28 August by an MCB client liaison officer, informing Mrs Trigwell that the plot was not available for re-grant as there were plans to build mausolea over the graves in that section?

(3) Can the minister explain why Mrs Trigwell's application was rejected out of hand, but did not appear in the figures that he gave in his answer of 18 September? If, as I suspect, it is because no formal paperwork was submitted, how many other informal approaches have been made to the MCB this year seeking re-grant, only to be denied outright, and how can concerned citizens make a formal application if they are blocked in this manner?

(4) Given the historical significance of Sergeant O'Meara's grave, what steps are being taken to ensure that it is not lost to posterity as part of this renewal process, and what comfort can the minister offer Mrs Trigwell, whose late family members, Vivette and Clyde Higgins, are not being afforded the same courtesy?

The PRESIDENT: Member, that is probably more in the form of a letter than a question.

Hon SUE ELLERY replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1)–(4) No formal application was received to renew the grant of right of burial for the grave of Vivette Higgins in the Roman Catholic HA area of Karrakatta Cemetery. If Mrs Trigwell were to lodge an application to review the grant of right of burial, it would be rejected, as was communicated to her. The reason the application would be rejected is that the statutory grant of right of burial is set at 25 years, which exceeds the current plan to renew the Roman Catholic HA area for the purpose of building a mausoleum planned to occur in a time frame of beyond 15 years. Alternatives for families of graves located in areas planned for renewal that involve the development of a mausoleum are the purchase of a new grant of right of burial elsewhere within the cemetery; purchase of a crypt in the planned mausoleum; cremating the remains; or leaving the remains in situ and negotiating with the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board to relocate the headstone. With all options, the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board will cover the cost of exhumation and reinterment. Sergeant O'Meara's grave is a retained war grave and, as a Victoria Cross recipient, is protected under the current Metropolitan Cemeteries Board memorandum of understanding with the Office of Australian War Graves and the state government memorandum of understanding concerning VC recipients.