SM Looking Forward feature City Hall Museum of Brisbane historical architecture Australia
SM Looking Forward feature City Hall Museum of Brisbane historical architecture Australia

‘Heartless’ council act hits grieving parents

GRIEVING parents will be hit by a massive Brisbane City Council burial fee hike that has been slammed as heartless.

The Courier-Mail can reveal that fees for the council's baby memorial gardens, including burial of a child's ashes, have increased by 22 per cent to $687.

Labor councillors have demanded LNP Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner explain why heartbroken families have been hit with such a large fee increase - about 14 times the rate of inflation.

The council says the hike is due to silica dust safety concerns that have forced the outsourcing of memorial plaques to specialist stonemasons.

Council opposition leader Peter Cumming said it was incredible that the fees being charged to people in their "darkest hours" were rising at such astounding rates while inflation was so low.

"The council rakes in rates by the billions and if we can't look at keeping the cost down for people when they're at their most vulnerable then there's something wrong," he said. "Cemetery fees have risen sharply and we know it's not being spent on increased maintenance."

Cr Cumming branded the fee hike as heartless and said Labor councillors had received ongoing complaints about cemetery maintenance.

Brisbane City Council Opposition Leader Peter Cumming said it was incredible that fees had increased by so much. Picture: Peter Cronin
Brisbane City Council Opposition Leader Peter Cumming said it was incredible that fees had increased by so much. Picture: Peter Cronin

The fee for the baby memorial gardens, which are at the Hemmant Garden of Peace and Mt Gravatt Crematorium, includes the supply and installation of a memorial plaque, garden maintenance and the interment of the child's ashes.

Deputy Mayor Krista Adams hit back, saying the Opposition Leader's claims were a new low for Labor.

"They're trying to score political points over the safe delivery of a core service to families," she said.

"It just proves Labor has no experience in running our city, and they don't understand all of the areas of the budget that need to be managed."

Lawn grave fees for a single plot at the Hemmant, Mt Gravatt and Pinnaroo cemeteries increased by about 5 per cent to $4687, while category-one memorial garden fees for a single interment went up by 12.5 per cent to $1241.

The interment of a child of up to eight years old at a grave­site at Hemmant Baby Cemetery increased by 2.5 per cent, in line with the average increase of council's fees, to $1251 per site.

The new fees came into effect on July 1.