The Australian funeral industry is under scrutiny for failing to be transparent with families about costs. As a result, when it comes to planning for the cost of a funeral, there is often a great level of uncertainty about how much money to account for.

In addition, each funeral provider has its own price structure, so it can be tricky to anticipate the average price of a funeral in your area. This article helps to explain the average cost of a funeral and the difference in pricing between a cremation and burial. It will also provide some low-cost funeral options to help make estate planning a little easier.

How much do funerals cost in Australia?

The cost of a funeral in Australia can vary significantly depending on whether it’s for a cremation or burial, the type of service required, how it’s personalised, and the location. For example, traditional funerals often come with additional expenses including catering at a wake, flowers, newspaper advertising, a celebrant’s fee and funeral director’s service fees, which can quickly add up. In contrast, an unattended cremation generally costs thousands of dollars less.

What is the average cost of a cremation vs burial?

The average cost of a burial tends to be far more expensive than a cremation due to the land required and other additional burial expenses.

What is the average cost of a burial?

The average cost of a burial in Australia is $19,000. If the burial includes a final committal ceremony at the gravesite after a church or chapel service, there are additional funeral director’s fees. The average price of a headstone alone is $3,500, so the cost of a burial can quickly add up.

What is the average cost of a cremation?

On the other hand, the average price of a traditional cremation in Australia is around $7,400. However, a cremation can cost thousands more depending on the personalisation of the ceremony and choice of coffin.

What is the average cost of a direct cremation?

A direct cremation (a non-attended cremation without a formal funeral service) is the most affordable funeral option. The average cost of a direct cremation in Australia is $4,000, according to Prices remain lower than a traditional cremation or burial service because there is often no need for a chapel, celebrant, flowers, or other additions to the funeral service. Families will often hold their own celebration of life after the direct cremation has taken place, to honour their loved one.

In contrast, *the national median cost of an at-need direct cremation with Bare is around $2,349. Bare saves Australian families thousands by only providing the things they actually want in a funeral. To take advantage of further savings, a Bare cremation can even be prepaid to avoid price increases over the years. A prepaid funeral also takes the future stress off your family later on.

Here's how Australian funeral trends are changing.

Low-cost funerals

Australians spend $1.6 billion every year on funerals. Primarily, it’s not because they choose elaborate funeral services, but rather because there hasn’t been a more affordable option available. The Australian Seniors Cost of Death Report highlights how 32% of seniors suffered financial hardship as a result of paying for a funeral. This indicates that for many, the cost of dying is simply too high. As a result, it also took 68% of those Australians in hardship at least six months to recover from the debt.

Final thoughts on the average funeral cost in Australia

Traditional funerals are not only expensive, they’re also outdated. While family and religious traditions are still important to some people, Australians are moving away from tradition, towards low-cost funeral options. We’re holding more personalised farewells that celebrate our loved ones in ways that honour a life well lived, rather than formal funeral services.

Funeral restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic forced many families and friends to reconsider their options to farewell someone they love. As a result, many Australians have realised they don’t actually need to spend $15,000 to $19,000 on a traditional funeral service and potentially go into debt paying it off, if that’s not what they or their family want. Traditionally, funeral options have been limited in Australia for decades, but the industry is changing to meet shifting trends. To find out more, or get a free quote for an imminent or prepaid cremation, visit the prepaid page, or call 1800 202 901.  

*This is the national median price of a Bare at-need cremation, correct at July 2022. Please note that prices vary depending on location and instalment frequency and are subject to increase over time. For an accurate quote and cost breakdown for your location, please follow this link.