• Date: 18/06/2018
  • Cemetery: GMCT Home

 

We live in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.

This cultural diversity provides a significant opportunity for participants in Australia’s funeral and memorialisation industries to reimagine their service offerings said CEO of The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, Jacqui Weatherill.

This opportunity for change, Jacqui said, is also being shaped by other realities, including Australia’s ageing population, an ever more congested urban environment and new technologies.

She said these drivers of change will transform our industry over the next decade.

The extent of greater metropolitan Melbourne’s cultural diversity is evidenced in the 2016 census data. It shows that 28 percent of Victorians were born overseas, in more than 200 countries.

Our state’s fast-growing capital city already has a population of five million and is forecast to overtake Sydney as Australia’s biggest city by 2030.

And whilst we are getting bigger, we are also growing older. Government statistics show that 15 percent of Australians are aged over 65 – up from 9 percent in 1976. By 2056 that comparative figure is projected to rise to 22 percent.

Jacqui said to best serve our diverse and expanding communities we must be ready and able to listen to their needs and to act upon them. Crucial in that process she said is preparedness to change.

“As an industry, we need to encourage more Australians to have discussions with their loved ones about how they want to be remembered,” Jacqui said.

“People don’t want to be forgotten, and memorialisation – in all its various forms – reflects that human need.

“At GMCT, we’re trying to cultivate community conversations on death planning and memorialisation by changing perceptions about cemeteries.”

Jacqui said GMCT is investing capital to create new cemetery assets to meet the community’s evolving expectations.

“GMCT is building beautifully designed mausoleums and creating new cemetery precincts such as the major extension to Northern Memorial Park in Glenroy, where more than 2,000 graves have already been constructed.

“Over time, this area will be transformed into a peaceful place where native flora and fauna flourish.

“We’re also in the midst of planning for a new age cemetery at Harkness in Melbourne’s western growth corridor. This project will change perceptions about what a cemetery delivers.

“All our new investments are focused on creating emotive landscapes that lift people’s spirits and provide a tranquil garden environment and open space for relaxation and reflection.

“We’re proud to play a leadership role in the cemetery sector and we look forward to working with participants in our industry to provide contemporary memorialisation options for a community that I believe is ready for new opportunities.”