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The McGowan Government will regulate Western Australia's $140 million prepaid funeral sector to better protect seniors and their families from fund mismanagement.
The Government is developing a mandatory code of practice to give consumers greater consistency, clarity and certainty when investing in prepaid funeral plans - bringing WA into line with other States.
Currently the industry is governed by a voluntary standard set out by the Australian Funeral Directors' Association, though the level of compliance to that standard is unclear.
There are also other organisations in the community without funeral director certification offering prepaid funeral plans.
The mandatory code of practice will be designed, under the Fair Trading Act, to cover all sellers of prepaid funeral packages to protect Western Australians from fund mismanagement.
Comments attributed to Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray:
"Unfortunately there is the potential for unscrupulous operators in the prepaid funeral market to take advantage of vulnerable people, especially seniors.
"By introducing a mandatory code of practice, we will make sure companies selling prepaid funeral plans are held to a high standard and our seniors and their families are protected.
"Seniors and other interested parties will have the opportunity to contribute to a consultation process later this year to guide the development of the code."
Comments attributed to Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:
"The future financial risk for prepaid funerals is high. About 1,000 packages are sold each year in WA, and the amount of money being held is expected to rise significantly.
"It's imperative that such large amounts of money are managed and invested properly and professionally, while keeping the financial risk to consumers as low as possible."
Seniors and Ageing Minister's office - 6552 6400
Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister's office - 6552 6700