Rocky coffin swap claim could just be 'tip of the iceberg'

LNP has urged the state government to act on funeral industry standards.
LNP has urged the state government to act on funeral industry standards. Blainey Woodham

AN alleged coffin swap by a Rockhampton parlour may be the "tip of the iceberg" for problems in the funeral industry, says the LNP as they call for a State Government crackdown.

The call to action comes as police investigate a Rockhampton funeral parlour after the family of Janice Ceclilia Valigura's claimed her body was switched from a $1700 casket to a $70 pine box.

Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki today expressed fear extensive media reports may not be "an isolated case".


David Janetzki.
David Janetzki. Nev Madsen

READ: Police investigate shocking 'coffin switch' claim

He claimed to have sighted correspondence sent to the Attorney-General more than one year ago which had raised concerns about the unlicensed industry.

"We fear that media reports may be the tip of the iceberg - and at the very least they need to be taken seriously and an investigation needs to begin immediately," Mr Janetzki said.

"What we have seen the claim raised in the media is not an isolated case.

"People deserve nothing less than the dignity and respect of a proper burial and allegations of loved ones being ripped off through the funeral process are appalling."

Mr Janetzki's words follow the Queensland Funeral Directors Association (QFDA) claims they had called on the government for years to introduce funeral home licensing.

"The Office of Fair Trading and representatives of the funeral industry developed a voluntary code of conduct for the funeral industry in September 2013," QFDA said in statement yesterday.

"The code aims to promote best practice in the industry."

On Thursday, police said their investigation could take weeks and if found guilty, those responsible could face a potential fine and jail time.


A local funeral home is being investigated for a recent claim.
A local funeral home is being investigated for a recent claim. Robert Hoetink (Think Stock)

Late Thursday, Tony Hart broke his silence and claimed he had moved Ms Valigura's body into the pine box temporarily as her original casket risked cracking in a freezer.

He said she was cremated in the casket her family had chosen.

READ: Funeral director tells why body was 'switched' from coffin

The Labor Government has been approached for a response.

*After an investigation, police cleared Mr Hart and Harts Family Funerals of legal wrongdoing and said they would not be laying charges.

Topics:  alp fitzroy funerals harts family funerals labor lnp

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