(Image: Private Media)

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

Australia has failed to plan for the dead. Since the New South Wales government last built a cemetery -- 80 years ago -- the state's annual death rate has increased by 105%. In Sydney, most major cemeteries will run out of space within 12 years, while cemeteries run by smaller groups such as Russian Orthodox Christians, Mandaeans and Maori will run out of burial space in as little as three years. In parts of Melbourne, space will run out before 2025.

Plans to build new graves have been met with backlash, with residents west of Sydney arguing that a proposed cemetery will cause the value of their homes to plummet.