Former Property Council CEO appointed in cemeteries amalgamation
Former Property Council of Australia CEO Ken Morrison has been appointed administrator of NSW’s newly amalgamated cemeteries as the government seeks to address the state’s shortage of burial space.
Mr Morrison’s appointment sees the departure of OneCrown administrator Lee Shearer, who said she was appalled to be the last to find out she’d been replaced.
The government last week announced the amalgamation of Crown cemetery managers Rookwood General, Northern Metropolitan and Southern Metropolitan after an audit revealed a ‘critical shortage’ of grave sites.
“This merger will provide certainty for the industry, staff and consumers and a clear path to better manage our cemeteries so that the city’s burial needs are met and we can identify new efficiencies,” lands and property minister Steve Kamper said.
Mr Morrison will oversee the new entity, to be named the Metropolitan Cemeteries and Cermatoria Land Manager, while a board and CEO is recruited.
OneCrown administrator ‘appalled’
On Tuesday Ms Shearer, a former assistant police commissioner who had been administrator of the government’s OneCrown initiative, lambasted Mr Kamper for announcing Mr Morrison’s appointment in a media statement before informing her.
“People have often described me as the glue that’s kept these places together for the last two years and I had no idea that someone else had been appointed.” She told 2GB.
“I finish on Friday I’ve had no time to speak to my staff who I’ve led for the last two years as the administrator.
“It’s pretty appalling and if this is what leadership is like in this state. It’s pretty undignified… a phone call would have been nice”.
Mr Kamper later told the radio station the announcement had been made prematurely in error.
”I’ve called Lee and I’ve apologised,” he said.
His previous statement thanked Ms Shearer for her work.
“I would first like to thank Lee Shearer for her work.
“She has had led OneCrown through tough times of indecision and has been a fierce advocate for action and a champion for OneCrown’s frontline staff who do an incredible job.”
Burial space running out
The audit, conducted across five Sydney cemeteries managed by OneCrown – Frenchs Forest, Macquarie Park, Rookwood, Eastern Suburbs Memorial and Woronora – revealed multiple religious groups are set to run out of burial space in less than three years.
Mr Kamper said Mr Morrison had a deep proficiency in business strategy and financial management and a wealth of knowledge about land policy including planning, urban renewal and asset management.
Commenting on social media, Mr Morrison said he was looking forward to the task ahead.
“I’m delighted to have been appointed to this important role to consolidate the NSW Govt’s OneCrown cemetery & crematoria bodies into a single new entity, establish a skills-based Board, appoint a CEO and ensure Sydney has an adequate supply of burial space for the future,” he said.
Mr Morrison stepped down from his role leading the Property Council last year after 25 years with the organisation, having previously served as Chief Operating Officer and NSW Executive Director.
Mr Morrison was also previously the CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum.
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