(Image: Private Media)

This is part two of Preying on Grief, Crikey’s four-part investigation of the funeral industry. Read part one here.

The funeral industry is a massive money-making machine. Industry revenue was projected to hit $1.6 billion in 2020-21 with Australia’s ageing population fuelling that figure. The number of Australians aged 85 and over is expected to double to more than 1 million by 2042. 

Many grieving families faced with the stigma of being seen to skimp on loved ones' funerals are unaware of their choices for saying goodbye, with funeral companies pushing back against initiatives to improve price transparency.