Archbishop targets Gladys over ‘shocking’ betrayal

PREMIER Gladys Berejiklian is quickly back-pedalling from a decision to privatise NSW graveyards as Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher prepares to punish her government over the issue. 

It is understood NSW Property Minister Melinda Pavey has this week been instructed to re-engage the Catholic Church and to fast-track an alternate solution to the government’s bombshell graveyard reforms. 

Some government bureaucrats would be willing to disturb old graves so as to use the land for development…
Anthony Fisher
Archbishop of Sydney

The proposed changes were announced days after NSW’s May 22 Upper Hunter by-election and sought to replace existing faith-based operators with public servants – sending the well-run Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust into administration.

It is understood the proposed newly formed government body, called OneCrown, would ultimately oversee the tendering of cemetery management to private operators.

Cemeteries around Sydney are located on some of the world’s most valuable “undeveloped” land.

After hearing the surprise announcement, a Catholic spokesman said the Church had been “shut out of consultations and deceived by Ms Berejiklian’s office”.

Within days the Church began legal action against the government and had also commenced preparations for media attack ads and, most concerning, a campaign targeting Catholic-dominated marginal electorates.

Archbishop Fisher said the government’s betrayal was “shocking”.

“We’ve been told that all faith operators will be dismissed this week,” he wrote in The Catholic Weekly on May 27.

“Cemetery management will now be handed over to a costly government bureaucracy, with no sympathy for the mission of caring for the dead and no experience in caring for graves,” he wrote.

“It is a shocking decision.”

Archbishop Fisher said public servants could not be trusted with such a sacred mission.

“Some people in government or bureaucracy would like to stop burials altogether and require everyone to be cremated. Some would like to reuse existing graves for additional burials.

“Some would even be willing to disturb old graves so as to use the land for development.”

The Archbishop said Christians, Jews and Muslims were united in concern that the graves of their dead continue to be respected and that dignified burial be available into the future.

As well as pressure from the Church, it is understood Ms Berejiklian is receiving flak from within her Party as well as the Nationals and the ALP.PC

STOP PRESS: After a meeting on Friday, June 11, between Archbishop Anthony Fisher and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, the Church has advised it believes a satisfactory and permanent solution to its cemetery disagreement with the government is likely. 

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  Archbishop Anthony Fisher & Premier Gladys Berejiklian (courtesy 2GB/The Catholic Weekly, enhanced)
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3 thoughts on “Archbishop targets Gladys over ‘shocking’ betrayal

  1. If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!

    The Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust has been doing a good job, so HANDS OFF GLADYS!

  2. Gladys could always bury her parents in due course under a development site, if that’s her bent – but leave other people’s loved ones alone!

  3. I hope that the cemetery sell off of land is not developer inspired, NSW Government, both sides of politics, should be reminded that the politicians are representatives of all of the people and should steer well clear of shady deals.

    It’s time for the leftists to be dumped and government for the majority who in Australia are centre of the political spectrum leaning slightly right or left.

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