An overhaul of the Coroners Act is being proposed as a way to reduce autopsy delays that have left grieving families waiting weeks to bury loved ones.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Attorney General Mark Speakman put the plan before NSW Parliament on Wednesday and these will be debated during the next parliamentary sitting.
Gundagai mother Jill Jones welcomed the proposals. Her family waited two weeks for an autopsy to be conducted on her son Mark, who died in a car crash in July 2017.
"So many people have come up to me and said they know someone who is in a similar situation," Mrs Jones said.
"Losing a child is terrible, but to then not even know when they are going to be buried is indescribable."
Mr Hazzard said about 60 per cent of all cases reported to the NSW Coroner each year were the result of a natural death.
"This amendment to the act will remove the requirement to report a death to the coroner where the deceased had not seen a doctor in the six months prior to death," he said.
Losing a child is terrible, but to then not even know when they are going to be buried is indescribable.Jill Jones, grieving Gundagai mother
Mr Speakman said the proposed changes would reduce the number of unnecessary referrals and improve time frames of other coronial investigations.
"These amendments will remove unnecessary red tape enabling families to have their deceased loved ones returned to them sooner, so they can grieve and lay them to rest," he said.
"Additionally, and importantly, the change will also bring NSW in line with other states.
A second amendment would allow a forensic pathologist to undertake preliminary examinations of deceased people without the need for a direction from the coroner and could improve time frames in circumstances where a full medical post-mortem examination is not needed.
The ministers said the obligation under the Coroners Act 2009 to report unnatural, violent or suspicious deaths and sudden deaths from unknown causes will remain untouched.
A government taskforce is also still looking at other ways to improve the coronial process.
Member for Wagga Joe McGirr, who has been campaigning for changes on this issue with other regional MPs, described the proposal changes as "concrete action" and "first steps".
"We do think it's a win for people on this issue," Dr McGirr said.
"It's trying to reduce unnecessary coronial autopsies and unnecessary transfers."
Dr McGirr remains keen to see a greater role for regional hospitals, like Wagga Base, and hopes the proposed legislative changes will help.
"The legislation enabling pathologists to conduct some preliminary examinations before referring them to the coroner could open up the way for more work to be done locally," he said.