Around 50 people gathered outside the Innes Garden Memorial Park Crematorium and Lawn Cemetery in Port Macquarie on Friday June 14 to voice their opposition to the potential sale or lease of the council-owned crematorium and lawn cemetery.
It comes after the Tender Funerals Working Party called on Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to stop the expression of interest process around the potential sale or lease of the business.
Protestors held up signs including 'Let us take care of our dead', 'The plot thickens - where's the consultation?' and 'Our dead deserve dignity'.
Phillip Waring described the sale as an issue of "in-perpetuity".
"Cemeteries and these sorts of properties should remain in the hands of government and local authority," Mr Waring said.
"I am concerned if it is privatised we don't know what is going to happen in the future.
"Prices could go up but the land could also be redistributed and reused.
"That is the other issue, it may not be a resting place for people who have been buried here in the future."
Protestor Glenys Howard said she saw privatisation as an "absconding of responsibilities" by council.
"We don't have any guarantee about what services will be provided and how much we are going to be charged for those services," Ms Howard said.
Paul Fosse said he was "disgusted" with the process.
"Why wasn't this mentioned last council election?" he asked.
"What is going on is behind closed doors and that automatically raises suspicion."
Tender Funerals Working Party convener, Celia Kershaw met with representatives from Port Macquarie-Hastings Council on June 13.
"It was a little frustrating on both sides I imagine," Ms Kershaw said.
"They have advertised tenders and as a result the council staff found it very difficult to tell us anything.
"We are worried it is a foregone conclusion, we are begging the council not to accept any of the other tenders until they have explored this other possibility."
The working party was formed to look at the feasibility of a Tender Funerals franchise in the Hastings.
Tender Funerals is a non-profit organisation with a goal to provide low-cost funerals with particular attention to the grieving and healing process.
It currently provides services in Berry, Nowra, Shoalhaven, Kiama, Wollongong and the greater Illawarra.
The council in October 2018 decided to seek formal expressions of interest from providers of funeral, cemetery, crematoria and related services to explore the potential sale or long-term lease of either the entire Innes Gardens Crematorium and Lawn Cemetery or the crematorium alone.
Port Macquarie-Hastings councillors will meet on Wednesday June 19 in a closed session to discuss the matter.
The council-owned and operated facility, established in 1984, provides a range of crematorium, cemetery and memorialisation services.