Queensland’s voluntary assisted dying law passed

Published Thursday, 16 September, 2021 at 06:05 PM

JOINT STATEMENT

Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
The Honourable Dr Steven Miles

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

New laws allowing voluntary assisted dying in Queensland have been passed by parliament today giving terminally ill Queenslanders more choice.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk paid tribute to members of parliament for the dignified manner in which the bill was debated and the historic conscience vote that enabled it to pass.

“This is a deeply personal matter and we have heard the moving stories that prompted members to vote in the way they have,” the Premier said.

“We got to this point after years of consultation with the people of this state and expert advice.

“It was not rushed.

“Queenslanders will now have a choice that I know many families wish they had.”

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the Palaszczuk Government was boosting palliative care funding by $171 million over five years, taking annual investment to $250 million, so Queenslanders could have the very best, holistic care at the end of their life.

“Good palliative care starts the day a patient is diagnosed and will increase in intensity over time and as death approaches,” Mr Miles said.

“But for the very small number of people whose suffering cannot be eased, voluntary assisted dying should be available at that person’s request.

“These laws are fundamentally about compassion.

“But they are also about giving back control to people who have had their autonomy stripped from them by illness.

“It comes after decades of advocacy by passionate citizens, themselves carrying the trauma of having watched relatives die in pain or facing a traumatic death themselves.

“I am grateful to those MPs on both sides who expressed their support for the Bill. I’m also grateful to those who expressed their opposition to the Bill. While we respectfully disagree, I believe the debate has been richer for their contributions.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said that over the next 15 months, Queensland Health would be putting in place the complex clinical and administrative arrangements for the scheme’s implementation.

“This includes establishing the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, a Statewide Care Navigator Service, Statewide Pharmacy Service, support systems for access by regional and remote communities and developing training, supporting guidelines and processes,” she said.

“Additional engagement with stakeholder groups including medical professionals, First Nations and multicultural groups will be essential to guiding some of this work.”

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said passage of the legislation made Queensland the fifth Australian state to make voluntary assisted dying legal.

“It follows extensive work and consultation by two parliamentary inquiries and a year-long inquiry by the independent Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC),” she said.

“The QLRC must be commended for their expertise and developing draft legislation as a legal framework to provide Queenslanders with a ‘compassionate, safe and practical’ voluntary assisted dying scheme.

“This is an important piece of legislation to support those looking to consider their end of life options.”

To be eligible for voluntary assisted dying a person must meet all five criteria. They must:

  • have an eligible condition
  • have decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying
  • be acting voluntarily and without coercion
  • be aged at least 18 years
  • fulfil residency requirements.
  •  

The law includes a range of safeguards, including strict criteria and a staged request and assessment process, to ensure only those eligible can access the scheme. 

These measures are to protect the vulnerable from coercion, abuse or exploitation. 

More information is available at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/vad

ENDS