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Governance of Natural Burial Grounds 

The establishment of any natural burial ground in Australia will be subject to range of State laws and Local Government planning regulations. However, there are three universal issues that relate to the establishment and professional management of natural burial grounds. These are: long-term tenure of the site, financial management and compliance with Local, State and Federal laws.

One of the Project's aims is to develop Governance structures to assist individuals and groups to establish natural burial grounds. To progress this aim, the Project has sought the assistance of Starfish Initiatives - a sustainability charity working in this space.


As part of its support for the natural burial movement, Starfish will consider requests to provide various Trustee services for genuine natural burial grounds. Starfish can establish separate Natural Burial Ground Trusts for individual burial grounds, and thereby address security of tenure, financial management and compliance matters in the following ways:

Long-Term Security (tenure) of Sites

A Natural Burial Ground Trust is able to hold long-term (essentially perpetual) leases over property where the land owners have granted ‘use’ of the land for a natural burial ground. Where the land is to be ‘donated’ for the purpose, a Natural Burial Ground Trust can also hold title of the land and ensure it is used only for the agreed purpose. 

Financial Management and Planning

A Natural Burial Ground Trust can hold funds in trust for the long-term maintenance needs of individual burial grounds. An agreed amount from each internment is set aside for this purpose. 


In order for a cemetery or burial ground to operate legally, State and Territory legislation requires the existence or appointment of a person or entity to be responsible for the keeping of records, and to ensure burials are carried out in accordance with regulations. A Natural Burial Ground Trust can be established to fulfill any and all of these roles in all States and Territories of Australia.

Inquiries by e-mail should be directed, in the first instance, to the Australian Natural Burial Project.

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