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Crown trust governance

A number a major facilities in metropolitan Sydney are operated by Crown cemetery operators appointed and regulated under the Crown Lands Act 1989 and the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2013.

Crown cemetery trust means a reserve trust in relation to a reserve that is dedicated or reserved for the purposes of a public cemetery or crematorium or a related purpose.

Crown cemetery trusts are accountable to Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW (CCNSW).

Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust

The affairs of the trust are managed by a corporation, the Catholic Cemeteries Board, Chaired by the Hon Greg Smith SC.

Contact the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust.

Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust

The affairs of the trust are managed by an Administrator, currently Mr Jason Masters.

Contact the Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust.

Rookwood Necropolis Trust

The Trust is managed by a Trust Board comprising the following members:

  • Mr David Harley (Chair)
  • Mr Peter O’Meara
  • Mr George Simpson

Contact the Rookwood Necropolis Trust.

Northern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust

The Trust is managed by a Trust Board comprising the following members:

  • Prof John Hewson AO (Chair)
  • Mr John McCarthy AO
  • Mr Bob Birchall
  • Ms Leah Fricke
  • Ms Margaret Conley
  • Mr David Johnson
  • Ms Kris Hume
  • Mr Peter Owens

Contact the Northern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust.

Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust

The Trust is managed by a Trust Board comprising the following members:

  • Mr Anthony Charles Simpson (Chair)
  • Mr Anthony Lee
  • Ms Ivona Kadlec
  • Mr Michael McMahon
  • Mr Steven Pambris
  • Ms Heather Scheibenstock

Contact the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust.

Rookwood Reserve Trust

Investigation and appointment of an Administrator

Following representations from community stakeholders and trust board members, the Minister directed the CCNSW board to oversee an investigation into governance and operational concerns at the Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust (RGCRT).

Independent consultants conducted an investigation that provided a report with recommendations to address issues and findings.

The Minister endorsed all recommendations of the investigation, and a response to the investigation report was prepared (PDF, 620.88 KB)

Media release: Decisive action taken to set up Rookwood for the future (PDF, 108.22 KB)

In May 2016, following a series of resignations that rendered the board unable to form a quorum, the Minister appointed an administrator to manage the affairs of the RGCRT to 30 June 2016. Subsequent to this, a key element of the government response to the independent investigation was to appoint an administrator for a period of 12 months to implement the recommendations of the report and to ensure RGCRT operations and service delivery continued uninterrupted. The administrator is currently appointed to 30 June 2017.

There is no impact on the operations of Rookwood Cemetery which remains open for business as usual. The Catholic Cemetery at Rookwood is not affected.


During 2016, the Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Lands and Water commissioned an Investigation into governance and operational concerns relating to the Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust (RGCRT). A report as to the findings of that investigation was made publically available on the website of Cemeteries & Crematoria New South Wales on 1 July 2016.

The publication of that report breached the privacy of Dr Bronwyn Kelly. The report was released in redacted form, however those redactions were insufficient. The report was therefore made publicly available in a form in which Dr Kelly's identity could still be ascertained.

Due to this breach, it may have been inferred that Dr Kelly was improperly involved in a recruitment and that she was recommended for appointment to a government board position not on the basis of merit but on the basis of a selection process which the report characterised as biased. The department did not intend to imply that Dr Kelly was in any way improperly involved in the recruitment process (biased or otherwise) and sincerely regrets any such implication and/or inference that may have arisen from the publication of material which divulged Dr Kelly’s identity and breached her privacy.

The department wishes to make it clear that Dr Kelly's character, professional standing, qualifications and commitment to ethics are not and have never been in question.

The department sincerely regrets this privacy breach. The Department remains committed to identifying and preventing any future breaches of privacy.

The department apologises to Dr Kelly for failing to identify and prevent the breach of her privacy.

The department genuinely regrets any inconvenience, embarrassment or upset the breach has caused Dr Kelly.