DEATH BLOW: The costs of burying loved ones has jumped after Southern Downs Regional Council imposed a fee increase at cemeteries.
DEATH BLOW: The costs of burying loved ones has jumped after Southern Downs Regional Council imposed a fee increase at cemeteries. Matthew Purcell

Cemetery costs rise 12%

BEREAVED families are being slogged harder than ever and being left with tough choices as fees and charges to bury loved ones continue to rise.

Southern Downs Regional Council has imposed a 12 per cent fee increase on burial plots in order to cover operational costs.

Raymond Mattiazzi, from Carnarvon Funeral Services, wants answers about why, after saying his business wasn't notified.

"We should be the first to know,” Mr Mattiazzi said.

"People don't think to first go to council when this sort of stuff happens.

"You can pre-purchase them (plots) which is great - they're the only things you can pre-purchase.

"I got all the paperwork and went through it and, luckily, I was sitting down: The above-ground vaults have gone up by $1016.

"That's not 3 or 4 per cent with CPI. Give me a reason why these fees have gone up?

"This is across the board - lawn cemetery... whole box and dice.

"People will come in and say 'I was talking to a friend of mine and when her husband passed away they only paid this and now you're telling me this'.

"People are thinking Carnarvon Funerals are tacking on here.

"They're putting up the prices and we're the ones left sitting here saying I can't tell you why.

"Our plots here are starting to become more expensive than metropolitan areas.

"We shouldn't have to pay these exorbitant fees and charges so they can bring down their deficit at the expense of bereaved families,” Mr Mattiazzi said.

The council says it wasn't making enough money to cover mounting costs.

"The report (prepared by a business analyst in 2016) determined the amount of revenue raised by the facilities was insufficient to meet operating costs and to continue to maintain the region's cemeteries to a high standard,” an SDRC spokesman said.

"To address the financial shortfall, fees were increased.”