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Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Page: 11708


Mr VAN MANEN (FordeGovernment Whip) (16:03): I would like to take this opportunity to raise an issue in my electorate of Forde which is a concern for the quiet suburb of Bethania in particular, a suburb that is home to young families, retirees, homeowners and businesses. Sadly, it's now proposed to be the site of a crematorium, or should I more correctly say, given the design of the facility, a furnace. Understandably, this has left the local community very disturbed. We've seen seniors put their hard-earned life savings into their well-earned retirement at the neighbouring retirement villages. The concern is that these investments and this lifestyle are now compromised by the prospect of this tasteless crematorium on their doorstep.

What I find tasteless, as well, is that the person behind this proposal—a Brisbane funeral director—has previously been convicted for fraud and other charges as a result of incorrectly dealing with bodies in a previous role. The man was entrusted with taking care of loved ones to cremate at the Mount Gravatt and Logan crematoriums but instead drove them hundreds of miles to Rockhampton to make a quick buck, because of cheaper cremation prices. In the end, he made over $30,000 out of this and then failed to properly and adequately detail what had happened. In fact, the CEO of the Australian Funeral Directors Association has confirmed that this man and his company are not members of their organisation and he is not bound by their strict code of conduct. The Australian Funeral Directors Association shares our concerns in relation to this applicant's past history.

Quite rightly, the residents of Bethania have a number of concerns with respect to this proposed crematorium. They're worried about whether it will negatively impact on their health, due to toxic emissions from the crematorium, which the council has done no work to identify. Will it have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the lives of the residents in the aged care and retirement facilities in Bethania and Waterford, and their families? Will it have a negative impact on our local community, by putting existing and future job prospects at risk?

It is an inappropriate location, given its proximity to the Bethania Lutheran Primary School and nearby Aldi shopping centre and local shops. I call on the council to reject this application and the proponents to withdraw it. (Time expired)