Preparing Victoria for a world-class, new cemetery experience.

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Accountable to government – and therefore every citizen of the state – Victoria’s cemeteries trusts have social cohesion and community wellbeing as their mandate and ultimate goal.

Ellis Jones worked with SMCT on industry regulation, policy and stakeholder research, and developing an approach to stakeholder engagement for the next stage of development at Bunurong, soon to become a cemetery of global significance.


It was the Ellis Jones Research as Engagement model that SMCT identified as ideal for the dual purpose of engaging communities and sourcing structured input on development plans, this model involved:

  • Our researchers used a combination of in-depth stakeholder interviews, focus group testing and telephone surveying to source a comprehensive data set before analysis and presentation to the executive and board.
  • Working with SMCT to define and produce an impact reporting framework for their unique social impact; it created a mechanism to assess direct and indirect contribution to the health and wellbeing, social cohesion and environmental sustainability of the local communities within which their cemeteries sit.
  • Consulting with a range of communities such as Buddhist, Orthodox, Muslim and several others, on current and predicted memorialisation practices.
  • Working outwards from SMCT’s role in enabling respectful, healthy grieving and the honoring of life – to specific indicators that aligned with local council and federal government framework, and contributed measurably to the Sustainable Development Goals.


The Research as Engagement approach not only secured the required insight within the Trust’s budget constraints, it paved the way for future consultation and collaboration with important community stakeholders.