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18 December 2023

Appointment of Metropolitan Memorial Parks inaugural Board

The Metropolitan Memorial Parks’ Board has appointed Denise Ora as the inaugural Chief Executive of the newly amalgamated cemetery land manager. 

Denise is the current Chief Executive of the Botanic Gardens of Sydney and is an experienced leader with a passion for people and purpose. 

Her appointment follows an extensive CEO search process which was conducted in parallel with the Government’s Board establishment process.  

Denise will bring tremendously valuable experience to Metropolitan Memorial Parks. She has successfully led a high-profile government organisation responsible for large iconic sites and she has navigated important reforms through the NSW Government.  

Further to this, Denise will bring a fresh perspective to place making, community engagement and innovation. She understands the needs of organisations with multiple locations, a mix of indoor and outdoor workers and multilayered stakeholder environments.  

Denise has said she is truly honoured by the appointment. “I look forward to working with the new board, staff and all stakeholders in delivering on Metropolitan Memorial Parks’ commitment to meet the changing needs of our diverse communities by creating and managing serene and dignified spaces providing solace, remembrance and a sense of community for all.” 

In welcoming her appointment, Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper MP said, “When the Minns Government took office the Crown cemetery sector was in disarray. With the new board and CEO in place, Metropolitan Memorial Parks can now focus on the task at hand, delivering for the people of NSW.” 

Denise will commence on 5 February 2024. CFO, Simon Officer, will continue as Acting CEO until that time. 

Denise’s appointment as CEO marks the end of a successful merger and governance reset of Metropolitan Memorial Parks over the past six months.  

With this governance reset now complete, Metropolitan Memorial Parks can focus on ensuring interment supply for the future. 

See media release for more details.

8 December 2023

Appointment of Metropolitan Memorial Parks inaugural Board

Today is a milestone day for Metropolitan Memorial Parks, with the Minister Stephen Kamper MP formally announcing the appointment of our inaugural Board.

In addition to this exciting news, we are also very close to appointing our new CEO and our work with government on a future land supply strategy is making positive progress.

New Board

A strong Board gives Metropolitan Memorial Parks the platform to plan for the future, while strengthening our ability to serve the community.

I am honoured to have been appointed to Chair the Board and I am very excited to continue the work that we have commenced to ensure we are able to continue to serve the community long into the future.

I will be joined on the Board by a highly experienced group of Directors from a diversity of fields, including:

  • Ken Morrison (Chair)     
    • Current MMP and RNLM Administrator, former CEO Property Council of Australia, former member of a range of government and industry boards and advisory committees
  • Mark Bloom                       
    • Current director of Abacus Storage King, AGL Energy, EBOS Group (healthcare), Pacific Smiles Group (dental); former CFO Scentre Group
  • Arthur Diakos PSM                         
    • Current member of the Audit and Risk Committees of National Anti-Corruption Commission, NSW ICAC, NSW Crime Commission, IPART, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust
  • Kathy Jones          
    • Stakeholder engagement and strategic communications expert, Chair of ECF (UK and Australia), director of Karitane (parental services), former principal of KJA (engagement and comms)
  • Professor Roberta Ryan                   
    • Social planning expert, ED of Institute for Regional Futures at University of Newcastle, Commissioner Western Sydney Aerotropolis, chairs community engagement committees for Hunter Water Corporation and NSW Energy Corporation, member Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel
  • Alice Spizzo 
    • Law, governance and strategy expert, director of Landerer and Company (law firm), Homes Tasmania, Women’s Housing Company, member Sydney East City Planning Panel

There will also be one more Board director appointed next year.

The new Board will formally assume its responsibilities today (Friday 8 December) following a notice in the NSW Government Gazette.

My term as Administrator of Metropolitan Memorial Parks will also come to an end at this time, however I will continue as the Administrator for the Rookwood Necropolis Land Manager for the time being.

The Minister’s media statement announcing the new Board can be found here.

New cemetery supply

One of the tasks the Minister set me as Administrator was to work on the pressing issue of future burial supply. Over the past six months we have been developing short-term and longer-term supply plans.

The Government has considered both sets of issues; and are supportive of our focus to extend the operating life of our existing sites for as long as possible, while also investigating our longer-term initiatives further.

Over the next twelve months, this work will be a key focus of the new Board and the Executive team.

CEO position

We have also been running a CEO search process with the objective being to provide a shortlist of candidates to the new Board.

I am delighted to confirm that the Board will now conduct final interviews, and we will be selecting a CEO before the end of the year.

Lastly, with my appointment to the Board, I have decided to appoint our CFO Simon Officer to serve as Acting CEO until the new CEO joins us in the new year.

Today is an important day for Metropolitan Memorial Parks. It has been a long journey to reach this point where we have a single organisation with a new Board and a new CEO who will be joining us soon.

Thank you for your support during this period, and I look forward to exciting times ahead.

Ken Morrison

31 October 2023

Metropolitan Memorial Parks 2022-23 Annual Report

24 August 2023

High quality directors sought for new Metropolitan Memorial Parks Board

The NSW Government has begun the search for highly skilled and experienced people to join the new Metropolitan Memorial Parks Board when it is established later this year.

This marks another major milestone as the former crown cemetery land managers (which includes Northern Metropolitan Cemeteries Land Manager, Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Land Manager and Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Land Manager) transition towards an exciting new future as a united entity. 

In his media statement announcing the search, NSW Lands Minister Steve Kamper states the Board will be “supported by the Government to oversee Metropolitan Memorial Parks’ operations and work on interesting opportunities and challenges, including creating more cemetery space for Sydney, helping rethink the role cemeteries play as shared public open spaces, and engaging with key faith communities and stakeholders to meet consumer needs.”

The Board will play a critical governance role for the organisation, representing the long-term interests of the people of NSW as the body which is responsible for the strategy and performance of Metropolitan Memorial Parks.

The Public Service Commission has determined that the Board will be a skills-based board made up of seven members, including the Chair. 

The Minister has flagged that he is looking for people with skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Financial management
  • Governance and risk management
  • Organisational performance
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Commercial strategy
  • Legal.

Other desirable experience includes place management, construction and development, change management and information technology. Diversity and multiculturalism will be highly valued. I expect that the final Board will include some directors with experience in the cemetery sector and others who will bring fresh experience to the role.

The Board search process is being conducted by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, with the Board roles to be advertised in major metropolitan newspapers, online and government board sites. More details and the candidate information pack can be found here.

In parallel with this, the Metropolitan Memorial Parks Administrator, Mr. Ken Morrison, will shortly commence the search process for a permanent CEO timed so that the final CEO appointment decision will be made by the new Board.

These two milestones are an important step towards ensuring the provision of affordable interments for all communities, and long-term sustainability of crown cemeteries in NSW.

19 July 2023

Crown Land Manager  

Metropolitan Memorial Parks established to support communities to farewell and remember their loved ones 

NSW Lands and Property Minister Stephen Kamper announced Metropolitan Memorial Parks as the name of the newly merged organisation that has amalgamated three crown land managers. 

Effective from 1 July, this decision brings together the operations of the former Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Land Manager, Northern Metropolitan Cemeteries Land Manager and Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Land Manager. 

Newly appointed Administrator Ken Morrison says, “the new name reflects the important services we provide to the community – supporting people to grieve, celebrate life, and remember loved ones, as well as providing much-needed green space for the community.” 

“The NSW Government has provided us with a clear directive to amalgamate the three crown cemetery operators and we are getting on with the job.”  

“This important step means we can now take the necessary steps to ensure the provision of available and affordable interments for all communities, and long-term sustainability of the crown land we manage.”  

Under the new two-operator Crown cemetery model Metropolitan Memorial Parks will work in partnership with NSW Crown Lands, Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW, and the Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria, to manage and address the cemetery land issue. 

To recognise the amalgamation, on 23 June Community faith leaders joined Minister Kamper and Mr Morrison for the official launch of Metropolitan Memorial Parks.  All in attendance welcomed the merger, as it ended two years of uncertainty across the crown land sector.  

“Importantly, we have taken a significant step towards addressing the growing concern about the future supply and demand of cemetery space,” Mr Morrison said. 

“We in a much stronger position to confidently plan for the future.”  

To witness the launch formalities, please watch the video below: