Compassionate approach to funerals


A unique business is servicing the saddest of needs in Central Australia.

Desert Funerals Limited was formed by the Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation and Centrecorp after a series of meetings in Alice Springs in 2018 discussed the social and financial impact of funerals on the Central Australian Aboriginal community.

An interstate not-for-profit funeral provider attended, as well as representatives from land councils, legal services, health services and other organisations.

Desert Funerals director, Douglas Multa, said:

“There was a consensus of views that the circumstances around death had a significant and disproportionate impact on Aboriginal communities for various reasons, including the lack of choice of funeral service providers in the region, the financial impact on family members trying to bury their loved ones, and inflated funeral costs in general.”

Desert Funerals accessed a $30,000 grant under the Territory Government’s Aboriginal Business Development Program to contract a funeral service consultant, produce a market entry and business plan, and install technology, such as computers and state-of-the-art audio visual equipment for the chapel at the company’s headquarters in Alice Springs.

The grant was particularly useful in getting industry advice because although the Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation and Centrecorp recognised the need for affordable funeral services, they had no experience in the industry.

The Aboriginal Business Development Program helps Aboriginal Territorians interested in starting or expanding their existing business.

Help is available for:

  • business growth and sustainability
  • creating new enterprises
  • increasing the number of Aboriginal owned and operated businesses
  • increasing business knowledge and skills
  • creating new employment
  • developing new skills.

Successful applicants are given one-on-one support from the Territory Government’s renowned small business champions.

Ngurratjuta business manager Amy Driver said the grant was very useful and applying was easy.

She said the company was “well supported” by Territory Government small business champion Ross Nowland.

The company operates funeral services under a culturally appropriate, not-for-profit model.

“This will bring about significant positive change and dignity to the lives, and deaths, of Aboriginal people in Central Australia,” said Douglas.

The business services Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Centralians.

Desert Funerals vehicles

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