Canberra's first publicly operated crematorium has been brought a step closer, welcome news for communities who haven't been able to properly say goodbye to loved ones.
Construction began at Gungahlin Cemetery on Friday. It is among several projects fast-tracked due to coronavirus, and is expected to be completed by December.
The crematorium will meet the needs of several diverse communities after a government survey found one in 10 people didn't have their religious or cultural burial and cremations needs met in the city.
Chair of the ACT Cemeteries Authority Stephen Bartos said some cremation rituals required family to participate in a way they couldn't at Canberra's only other crematorium.
"There are some cultural needs, particularity for immediate family to be close to the actual cremation itself, that aren't being met," he said.
A viewing room will be included in the facility to allow those families the access they need.
Gungahlin MLA Deepak-Raj Gupta said the facility was particularly important for Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities, who had not been able to properly say goodbye to loved ones.
"People will be able to practice their religion and say goodbye to their loved ones in the way they want to," he said.
The cremator and cremation facility will be installed in the first stage of construction and is expected to be operational in October.
Viewing rooms will be completed in the second stage, by the end of the year.
Mr Bartos said there were long wait times at Canberra's only other crematorium, Norwood Park, and the city would need more facilities as demand grew.
He said an increasing amount of people were choosing cremation over burial.
The ACT has a cremation rate of around 75 per cent.
Mr Bartos said NSW had one crematorium per 120,000 people, whereas the soon-to-be two facilities in Canberra would service a population of 425,000.
City Services minister Chris Steel said discussions were being had about the potential for a crematorium at Southern Memorial Park.
The ACT had been the only state or territory without a publicly owned crematorium.