Dob in a coffin swapper: Major government review on cards
INSIDERS have been urged to come forward and blow the whistle on unscrupulous funeral homes as the Government considers a possible crackdown.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not rule out introducing stronger regulation as she returned from leave yesterday to describe her horror at claims of coffin swapping.
The industry came under the spotlight last week after revelations the body of Rockhampton grandmother Janice Valigura was taken from a specially purchased $1700 coffin after her funeral and put into a pine box ahead of a planned cremation.
The family's allegations are being investigated by police.
Since they were made public, others in the industry have claimed ugly practices are rife. They claim coffin handles are removed from used coffins, refitted and resold to bereaved families.
"I think everyone was horrified when they heard about that case," Ms Palaszczuk said of the Valiguras' claims.
"We expect very high standards from the funeral industry and I would expect them to uphold those standards.
"So I'll wait for the police investigation and then I'm happy to look at recommendations that may flow from that."
The Premier encouraged families and industry-insiders to report their stories to the Office of Fair Trading so any widespread issues could be exposed and dealt with.
She said she was not adverse to greater regulation if it was needed.
"Let's see what the police investigation says and if anyone else knows of any other unscrupulous practice, please let us know," she said.
"We'll take steps if needed."
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington backed a government review.
"It really wouldn't hurt them to have another review in regards to the funeral industry given that, especially in central and north Queensland where those complaints came from, something needs to happen in relation to that," she said.
Ms Frecklington said the stories of families who had come forward were "disgusting".
"It's unacceptable ... when someone is going to bury their loved ones, what they pay for should be what they get," she said.