Funeral Directors condemn kickback allegations
THE peak body for funeral home directors has condemned any activity where businesses pay kickbacks to lure clients.
The Bulletin yesterday reported that police are investigating allegations a Gold Coast police officer received money and gifts from funeral home directors while working at a morgue.
Queensland President of the Australian Funeral Directors Association (AFDA) Wes Heritage condemned the alleged offences and said if it turned out the funeral home was part of their organisation, he would expect swift action from the association.
"The AFDA would most certainly condemn any funeral director or business that offers kickbacks to people to win business," Mr Heritage said.
"It's stated in our code of conduct and I'm sure if the person or business involved turns out to be a member of the AFDA, I would expect the board to revoke their membership immediately.
"I would describe it as out of the ordinary. I've been in the industry for 30 years and I have never been made aware of these type of allegations. I've never received a complaint or comment about it before, so I would like to think it is an out-of-the-ordinary incident.
Mr Heritage said a lot of companies received business through personal referral.
"If you spoke to any funeral director, they would say business comes to them through word of mouth and a positive comment about the company.
"That's why our code has statements there that state funeral directors won't engage in misleading advertisement, or they won't solicit for work, all those statements are made in the code.
"Then again it's a code of conduct that is voluntary for people who choose to apply for membership of the AFDA, so it doesn't have weight for funeral directors who won't belong."
He said there is no regulation of the funeral industry, which could lead to rogue operators.
"AFDA members choose to be regulated by their association, at least we can do something about it if it was to be one of our members who have done the wrong thing.
"If there was something that the Government that could take from these types of allegations, is that, when they ask funeral directors in the State to tender for police contracts to transfer deceased people from place of death into care of coronial services, I think too often the State Government awards the contract to the lowest tender.
"I think if they insist on a funeral director who is tendering above cost recovery and if they're tendering under that, I think they are creating an environment where these sorts of things could happen."