Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Push for Funeral Home Regulation in Motion

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Push for Funeral Home Regulation in Motion

Article excerpt

Byline: Shayla Bulloch

IT'S been four months since Karen Bolck's mother was the centre of the Rockhampton coffin-swap scandal, but it hasn't become any easier.

Desperate for regulation in the funeral industry, MsBolck reached out to LNP Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki who is now urging the State Government to act and protect families.

The funeral industry was thrust into the spotlight in January when police investigated a Rockhampton funeral home for swapping a grandmother, Janice Valigura, from a deluxe coffin into a pine box.

Mrs Valigura was taken out of her funeral coffin, wrapped in plastic and placed in a different casket before her cremation, which the funeral home apologised for, saying it was to protect the expensive coffin.

"Since her funeral I haven't even grieved for mum, I've been that angry," MsBolck said.

The case gained international exposure with more grieving families speaking up about incidents in an unregulated industry.

Police investigated the incident, but did not lay any charges.

Mr Janetzki said the government must act to crack down on the industry as Queensland does not have any stand-alone legislation governing burials, cemeteries and funerals.

"I have met with the Queensland Funeral Directors' Association who want to stamp out these dodgy operators but they're receiving no support from the Palaszczuk Government," MrJanetzki said while visiting Rockhampton yesterday.

"At the moment, anyone can become a funeral director with no training necessary-- there is more training required to start a career in hairdressing than there is to deal with human remains."

Mr Janetzki has been meeting funeral directors and affected families from around the state and they have been sharing horrific behind-the-scenes reports.

Backyard embalming, coffin swapping and cremation shopping were among dozens of alleged tactics which were being used by funeral operators in Queensland, according to stories reported to MrJanetzki.

"Dodgy operators are damaging the reputation of the industry while funeral directors who care deeply for the clients are paying the price," MrJanetzki said. …

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