Shepparton FAQs

Q: Who will be managing the day-to-day operations of Pine Lodge Cemetery and Kialla West cemeteries?

Day-to-day operations of the cemeteries will be managed by Remembrance Parks Central Victoria from 1 July 2019.

 

Q: Who (or what) is Remembrance Parks Central Victoria?

Remembrance Parks Central Victoria is a government owned enterprise established as one of five Class A cemetery trusts under the provisions of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003. It is accountable to the Minister for Health through the Department of Health and Human Services and is currently responsible for the direct management of six sites in the City of Greater Bendigo region.

 

Q:  When will the change of management be effective?

Management and operations of these cemeteries will be the responsibility of RPCV as of 1 July 2019.

 

Q: Will the change in management alter the services on offer?

The current interment and reservation services offered at the cemetery will continue under RPCV’s management from 1 July, 2019.  RPCV are committed to providing an excellent service to the community.

 

Q: Why has RPCV taken on the management of these cemeteries in Shepparton?

RPCV is a highly experienced service provider in after life care and can offer a level of specialist service provision in an area that can be difficult for any Council to offer. The arrangement ensures that day-to-day operations are undertaken efficiently and effectively by RPCV, meeting the expectations of both right of interment holders and the general public.

 

Q: I have a site at the cemetery; do I need to do anything?

There is nothing that you need to do as a result of the transfer of management at the cemetery.  RPCV will have all information regarding your site and any arrangements that you currently have in place.

 

Q:  What will happen to my site and cemetery maintenance? 

 RPCV are committed to maintaining all cemeteries under their management to a high standard of excellence.

 

Q: Will all sites remain perpetual?

In Victoria a grave is purchased in perpetuity. All grave sites for bodily interments will remain perpetual.

 

Q: Is RPCV planning any changes to Pine Lodge or Kialla West cemeteries?

Remembrance Parks Central Victoria is not planning any changes to the sites at this stage, and are committed to maintaining a high standard of service.



Q: I’m not happy with something at the site – who should I contact?

All enquiries, complaints or feedback about Pine Lodge or Kialla West Cemeteries should be directed to Remembrance Parks Central Victoria on 1300 266 561 (for the cost of a local call) or via email to enquiries@rpcv.com.au.

 

Q: What about the transfer of data and information - how is that happening?

Remembrance Parks Central Victoria will have digitised records for Pine Lodge and Kialla West Cemeteries. Original records will continue to be stored securely onsite at Greater Shepparton Offices.

 

Q: How will I access relevant records?

Remembrance Parks Central Victoria’s secure Cemetery System will contain all information regarding Right of Interment. RPCV adheres to relevant legislative requirements regarding the storage and retrieval of personal information.  RPCV will provide appropriate access to relevant records, in accordance with the legislation.



Q: What will happen to my payment plan for my reservation site?

Remembrance Parks Central Victoria will continue any existing payment plan arrangements for reservation sites.  The only change will be in relation to how you make your payments.  

After 1 July 2019 there will be a change in the bank account details for all payments and you will be notified of the new details in due course.

 

Q: Who do I contact regarding purchasing a right of interment (ROI), to book a service, to update an existing record or to organise a stonemason’s permit?

All enquiries regarding Pine Lodge or Kialla West Cemeteries should be directed to RPCV on 1300 266 561 (for the cost of a local call).

 

Q: Can I see someone in Shepparton regarding my site?

RPCV are currently in the process of establishing a presence in Shepparton, details are yet to be finalised.  

 

Q:  How do I pay my cemetery invoice?

After 1 July 2019, payments by cheque may be posted to Remembrance Parks Central Victoria, PO Box 268, Eaglehawk. Vic  3556, OR directly over the phone 1300 266 561, OR made via direct deposit to our bank account if required (details available by phoning the office if required) .

 

Q: Will the fees increase after the transfer of management?

It is not anticipated that there will be any price increase other than the usual annual Consumer Price Index rise which is applied to cemetery fees as at 1 July 2019.

 

Q: Will I still be able to reserve a site at the cemetery?

Yes, Remembrance Parks Central Victoria will be taking reservation applications of sites for both Kialla West and Pine Lodge cemeteries.

 

Q: Will pre-purchase payment plans still be offered for reservations?

Yes, pre-purchase payment plans will be offered at both sites.
There are many advantages to pre-paying your burial or cremation, including purchasing at today’s prices and peace of mind in knowing that your wishes will be honoured. Pre-paying also eases the burden on your family during an emotional time. Contact RPCV directly for more information.

 

Q: How do I book a burial after the transfer has occurred?

If you wish to book a burial please contact RPCV directly on 1300 266 561 and necessary arrangements will be made.

 

Q: I want to order a new plaque or recondition an old plaque?

Remembrance Parks Central Victoria will handle your queries regarding this.  RPCV Customer Experience team members will be available to assist and can be contacted directly on 1300 266 561 or via email enquiries@rpcv.vic.gov.au with any plaque or cemetery enquiries.


Q: Will there be opportunity for community input into the running of the cemetery?

Remembrance Parks Central Victoria is committed to ensuring Pine Lodge and Kialla West Cemetery operations continue with the same compassion, empathy, dedication of purpose and pride as has the Council. RPCV recognises the importance of community input around the operation of the cemetery and will continue to provide a Community Advisory Committee for the region.  For more information to head to www.rpcv.com.au/community.

 

Q: How do I find out more information about the change of management?

Two information sessions were conducted at the following dates and locations:

  • Wednesday 17 April 2019 at 5.30pm.

Shepparton Senior Citizens , 132 Welsford Street, Shepparton

  • Thursday  18 April 2018 at 10:30am

Shepparton Business Centre training room, 70 New Dookie Road, Shepparton

 

Please read below for a summary of Questions raised during Community Consultation Sessions in Shepparton on Wednesday 17th & Thursday 18th April 2019:

 

Q. How will the finances be managed?

A. Remembrance Parks Central Victoria is a government owned enterprise established as one of five Class A cemetery trusts under the provisions of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003. It is accountable to the Minister for Health through the Department of Health and Human Services. It is not strictly a not-for-profit organisation as there is a need to reserve funds to meet perpetual maintenance commitments of all its sites.
Following Ministerial approval, the assets of Pine Lodge and Kialla West cemeteries will be transferred to RPCV as part of an acquisition (eg toilet blocks, concrete beams) along with the funds currently held by GSCC for ROI and pre-purchases, so that RPCV may continue to honour those commitments. All funds received will be accounted for separately and will be held and used for the management and maintenance of Pine Lodge and Kialla West cemeteries. 
As we do with our current sites, we will continue to identify community and funding opportunities that RPCV can utilise to support the Shepparton community.

Q. How long do you hold the rights to a grave or pre-purchase?

A. In Victoria all burial sites for bodily remains remain in perpetuity under Government legislation. Pre-purchase and ROI sites are valid for 25 years, after which if not taken up, RPCV are entitled to approach the holder to discuss ongoing rights.
GSCC will provide RPCV with all information regarding ROI sites and any arrangements that you currently have in place with GSCC will be honoured by RPCV.
Pre-purchasing opportunities will re-commence with RPCV as soon as possible after 1 July 2019.

Q. Do you have a process for memorialisation regarding the management and removal of items?

A. RPCV has a Decorations Policy in place for all its sites focussed on maintaining the safety of all staff and visitors to RPCV sites. This policy maintains respect for self and others and is focussed on maintaining the aesthetics of RPCV sites.
Where items are placed on graves that do not meet our policy we will communicate with the families concerned to come to an agreed outcome.

Q. How had you communicated about these community meetings?

A. GSCC first held consultation meetings in 2018 when discussions about the change in management were in progress. RPCV consulted closely with GSCC regarding scheduling our own community consultation meetings, including timing and venues of the meetings.
The two meetings RPCV held on 17 and 18 April 2019 were advertised on the GSCC website, the RPCV website and in the local newspaper, The Shepparton Adviser on 10 April 2019 along with a feature article on RPCV and interview with the CEO, Dean McElroy.
In addition, letters were mailed to all funeral directors, local Politicians, local religious leaders, health and aged care facilities, local heritage and historical organisations and local service clubs, past members of the cemetery trust and the Chair of the Shepparton General Cemetery.
Public notice signs were also placed at the front of both cemeteries on the 27th May 2019 with meeting details provided.

 Q. When was RPCV formed?

A. Remembrance Parks Central Victoria (Bendigo Cemeteries Trust) is a government-owned enterprise established in June 1988 as one of five Class A Cemetery Trusts under the provisions of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 (the Act). The organisation is accountable to the Minister of Health through the Department of Health and Human Services, and is responsible for the direct management of six sites. The trust also has a broader responsibility to provide leadership, support and assistance to 100+ Class B cemetery trusts across Central Victoria. In addition to this, we also continue to manage the Axedale Catholic Cemetery on behalf of the Diocese of Sandhurst.

 Q. Are you a for profit organisation?

A. RPCV is a not-for-profit organisation. As defined by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission a not-for-profit can make a profit, but any profit made must be used for its purpose(s). RPCV has a need to reserve funds to meet the perpetual maintenance commitments of all its sites. A small profit is aimed for each year, with the majority of these funds being re-invested back into site improvements (eg, lawns, pathways, tree planting etc).

Q. Is the Shepparton General Cemetery included in this transfer?

A. Pine Lodge and Kialla West cemeteries currently operated by GSCC are the only sites in consideration for transfer to RPCV management and operations.

Q. Will there be a name change for Pine Lodge & Kialla West?

A. There is no plan for any name change other than to recognise management and operation by RPCV on signage etc.

Q. What will be your area of responsibility for maintaining?

A. RPCV is a highly experienced service provider in after life care and can offer a level of specialist service provision in an area that can be difficult for any Council to offer. It is our intention to maintain both Pine Lodge and Kialla West cemeteries with the same compassion, empathy, dedication of purpose and pride as we do currently in Bendigo. 
Our current operations manager and grounds maintenance contractor have developed a scope of works for the Shepparton sites that will ensure they receive the same high degree of maintenance as our Bendigo sites. This has included preliminary planning of any future improvements that may be required.

Q. Should RPCV consider additional Community Consult meetings?

A. RPCV is in the process of forming a Community Advisory Committee specifically for the Shepparton sites. This committee will provide an avenue for communication and advocacy to and from the local community directly with RPCV. Advertisements seeking applications for this Committee have already been placed in the local Shepparton newspaper on 17 April 2019, and details are also on our website. We welcome interest and involvement of the local community.

Q. Is there a consideration for building a Chapel or Crematorium at Pine Lodge?

A. This is a long-term strategic consideration and as we have not commenced operations of any kind it is premature for RPCV to consider such investment/infrastructure. If there is a community need/demand in the future then it may be considered.

Q. Who are the appointees of RPCV (Names, contact details etc)

A. Trust Board Members are appointed by the Governor in Council upon the recommendation of the Minister of Health.
Current Members are:
Pam Macdonald (Chair) Email: chair@rpcv.com.au
Ken Belfrage
Damien Tangey
Craig Lloyd
Lauren Bean
Mark Gibson
Marg Lewis
Members other than the Chair may be contacted through the CEO’s office –
Email dean.mcelroy@rpcv.com.au or by phoning on 1300 266 561, ext. 205

Q. Is this a paid Trust, Class A and Full time?

A. All Board Members of the five Class A trusts in Victoria are remunerated as per Government guidelines. All RPCV trust members are part time; however, we have a staff of 15 with a mix of casual, part time and full-time roles.

Q. What Assets are to be transferred?

A. Following Ministerial approval, the assets of Pine Lodge and Kialla West cemeteries will be transferred to RPCV as part of the acquisition (eg toilet blocks, concrete beams) along with the funds currently held by GSCC for ROI and pre-purchases, so that RPCV may continue to honour those commitments. There is no grounds maintenance equipment in the assets to be transferred to RPCV. A detailed list of assets forms part of the agreement.

Q. What financial Transfers will take place at time of acquisition?

A. Following Ministerial approval, the assets of Pine Lodge and Kialla West cemeteries will be transferred to RPCV as part of the acquisition (eg toilet blocks, concrete beams) along with the funds currently held by GSCC for ROI and pre-purchases, so that RPCV may continue to honour those commitments.

Q. Who will maintain the responsibility for general grounds maintenance and grave digging?

A. RPCV is a highly experienced service provider in after life care and can offer a level of specialist service provision in an area that can be difficult for any Council to offer. It is our intention to maintain both Pine Lodge and Kialla West cemeteries with the same compassion, empathy, dedication of purpose and pride as we do currently in Bendigo.
Our current grounds management contractor is Groundswell Australia and they will assume responsibility for the two Shepparton sites following the change in management. A current member of the Groundswell team is a local member of the Shepparton community and will relocate to oversee maintenance and gravedigging services for both cemeteries.

 

The following were general statements made during the meetings.

• Please consider additional ways to communicate meetings or changes rather than just relying on newspaper adverts. Does not reach all regional houses.
RPCV will investigate other ways of communication, and this will be an important first task for the Shepparton Community Advisory Committee (when formed) to work on.

• Recommendation was to consider or include a mail out to all holders of the ROI to provide further information
RPCV will consider this.

• Concerns that Kialla West will become a Muslim Cemetery. The addition of the Muslim section at Kialla West happened without consult.

RPCV has no plan for this to eventuate, and will support the existing cemetery layout

• General concern was expressed over the process for approaching and approval of transfer to RPCV. The process lacked transparency, with limited or no community communication or engagement
These concerns are for GSCC to respond to, as it pre-dates RPCV’s involvement

 

 

For further information please contact Dean McElroy, CEO, Remembrance Parks Central Victoria on 1300 266 561 or email dean.mcelroy@rpcv.com.au.