Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Former Minister for Finance; Commerce; Small Business

    Proposed regulation of prepaid funerals

    7/12/2011 12:00 AM
    • Proposal to ensure money being held for funerals is protected
    • Consultation paper seeks public comment on Government’s plan

    The State Government is considering regulating the prepaid funeral sector to ensure consumers’ money and interests are protected.

    Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien has released a consultation paper ‘Proposals for the Regulation of Prepaid Funerals’ for public comment.

    “It is estimated about $24million of consumers’ money is being held by funeral directors for prepaid funerals and the amount will only increase as the population ages,” Mr O’Brien said.

    “While the vast majority of funeral directors are professional, we are concerned that some businesses may be offering prepaid funeral services that expose consumers to risk.  Consumers may pay for their funerals decades in advance so how do we ensure their money is secure and they get the service they paid for?”

    Among the concerns are:
    • prepaid funeral payments being invested in the name of the funeral director, rather than the consumer
    • contracts which do not include sufficient detail about the funeral services agreed upon
    • unfair provisions relating to cancellation of the contract
    • the lack of any register to record that a prepaid funeral has been contracted
    • Western Australia currently has no formal oversight of this sector and is out of step with other Australian jurisdictions, which have specific legislation for the prepaid funerals sector.
    Those interested in contributing to the discussion will have until March 6, 2012 to make a submission.  Mr O’Brien urged consumers who have already purchased or are thinking about purchasing prepaid funerals, as well as businesses in the prepaid funeral sector, to take part in the consultation.

          Fact File
    Minister's office - 9213 6400