New funeral regulation means better price transparency
Published Friday, 17 December, 2021 at 07:08 PM
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
Planning a funeral for yourself or a loved one is set to become easier for Queenslanders with the Palaszczuk Government introducing stronger consumer protections to ensure better price transparency in the funeral industry.
Attorney General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said that funeral directors will be subject to the new rules from 1 July 2022.
“Organising a funeral is an extremely emotional time and an often-stressful process,” Minister Fentiman said.
“Unfortunately, this can be made more stressful when information on funerals costs and products is not clear or easy to understand.
“That is why we are delivering on our promise to ensure there is greater price transparency in the funeral industry.
“Funeral homes often bundle goods and services into a package without any accessible pricing information or clearly stating which of these are required and which are optional extras.
“Greater price transparency will reduce confusion for consumers who are making decisions at a vulnerable time in their lives.
“It also means that consumers will not be left with an unexpected hefty bill after the service. There will be no hidden costs.”
From mid-2022 funeral directors will have to display an itemised price list on their website and at their premises. They will also need to display the price of their least expensive package for consumers wanting a simple funeral.
Additionally, consumers will be able to request a cost-itemised quote before entering an agreement to carry out the funeral. The funeral director will have to provide the information within 48 hours, unless a longer period is agreed, or before the agreement is entered into, whichever happens first.
The decision to introduce these new rules follows a consultation process undertaken by the Palaszczuk Government to seek broad community and business views on the issue of funeral price transparency in Queensland.
“After considering the outcomes of the consultation, and national and international movements towards legislated price transparency for funerals, the Queensland government will the Queensland government will proceed with better protections for consumers.” Minister Fentiman said
General Manager QLD Funerals InvoCare, Mandy Pengilly welcomed the announcement of the new regulations.
“InvoCare is committed to continuous improvement of industry standards and practices and fully supports the recommended regulations to ensure price transparency for Queensland families,” Ms Pengilly said.
Invocare owns and operates 12 brands in Queensland including George Hartnett Metropolitan Funerals, White Lady Funerals and Simplicity Funerals.
Divisional Councillor, QLD Division of the Australian Funeral Directors Association, Rowan Steer said increased pricing transparency will make it easier for Queenslanders when organising a funeral.
“This legislation is crucial in ensuring consumers are making informed choices during a difficult time and aligns with The Australian Funeral Directors Association’s mission to improve funeral industry standards nationally,” Mr Steer said.
The Attorney-General said the next step is the drafting of a new regulation in early 2022.
“The regulation will commence in mid-2022, to allow Queensland funeral businesses time to get ready for the changes and transition their business practices so they are providing price information for consumers,” she said.
The Office of Fair Trading will administer the new regulation.
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