8 February 2024

Government confident voluntary assisted dying laws will pass, funds implementation taskforce

| Claire Fenwicke
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hand on hospital bed

The taskforce has been set up to prepare the health workforce and system to deliver end-of-life services in the ACT. Photo: Envato.

A new taskforce has been established to get Canberra’s health system ready to implement voluntary assisted dying models of care for the Territory.

Voluntary assisted dying laws aren’t expected to pass the Legislative Assembly until at least mid this year, and public hearings for a committee inquiry have only recently wrapped up, but the ACT Government is clearly confident the legislation will pass in some form.

As a result, $2.4 million over two years will be used for the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation taskforce to establish the best framework and models of care to meet the needs of the community.

It will also help with early planning for the health system and workforce to get ready to deliver voluntary assisted dying services once the legislation is enacted.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it was important to be proactive and prepared.

“Establishing this taskforce is an important next step in ensuring our health system is prepared to deliver voluntary assisted dying once legislation comes into effect,” he said.

“It’s been a long journey for the ACT to reach this point.”

READ ALSO ‘It haunts me to this day’: How voluntary assisted dying laws could also reduce trauma for police

It’s expected Canberrans won’t be able to access voluntary assisted dying services until about 18 months after the law has been enacted.

The taskforce will coordinate on a number of key deliverables, including care and referral pathways across the health system, establishment of care navigation and pharmacy services, clinical guidelines and regulations, workforce training and accreditation, communications and engagement with the community, and establishing a new independent review board.

The taskforce is already working through these extensive tasks.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Territory had learned from other jurisdictions that setting up “robust” governance arrangements was crucial in ensuring the health system was ready for the laws to come into effect.

“The Voluntary Assisted Dying Taskforce draws on expertise and resources from across the public health system to ensure the ACT delivers a successful, safe and accessible model of care that meets the needs of the community and the clinicians who will be instrumental in delivering it,” she said.

“We want our healthcare workers and stakeholders to feel supported and informed as we work to uphold the dignity and preferences of eligible Canberrans who choose to engage with voluntary assisted dying, and this taskforce is the next phase of this important process.”

It’s expected the taskforce will work with representatives from key stakeholder groups, agencies, and the broader community to develop community information and resources on voluntary assisted dying.

READ ALSO Hopes extra millions translates to extra staff for Canberra’s new emergency department

Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne said this was about allowing eligible Canberrans to access end-of-life services that aligned with their rights, preferences and values.

“We know that even with the best end-of-life care, some Canberrans with an advanced condition, illness or disease can experience intolerable suffering near the end of their lives,” she said.

“From this consultation, we have heard a number of clear needs from the community, which this newly established taskforce will work to address as we continue to progress the legislation through to its implementation.”

If discussion of voluntary assisted dying raises issues for you or your family, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Griefline on 1300 845 745.

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Having dealt with the end of life of 2 parents & 1 relative I can say that these laws are desperately needed.

Current palliative care is imperfect and does not cover all eventualities. There is nothing worse than the suffering people go through at the end of life.
Please bring it on.

Just do it! For a “progressive government” we have the worst in Australia. Assisted dying – do it! Add opt OUT of organ donation as default too. We’re backwards across the board. E.G. even QLD has E-licence, so do it!
The dullards who keep giving them licence should be ashamed (but will come up with their standard defences🙄)

One thing to note about progressivism/leftism is that everyone who supports it ends upon getting bitten.

Starting with communist Russia, many of the high level communists ended up in the gulags and dead.

Then there are the women’s rights and LGBs. Once they served their purpose, they were steam rolled by the TQI+.

Next came the climate change cheerleaders, and now they’re unnecessarily paying through the nose for essentials, and will keep on doing so without end.

And finally (for my purposes today, at least) there are the journalists, who’ve supported this rubbish all along and yet will soon be thrown onto the rubbish heap for AI.

And yet what else to expect when the basis of your beliefs, despite shallow appearances at times, isn’t love or human dignity but the Frankfurt School’s perpetual revolution, in which case this assisted suicide pact that’s emerging – clearly a contraption of the revolution – is guaranteed to only bear rotten fruit.

Why start with a Russian dictatorship when you can easily go back further to use the same pseudo-argument to eliminate democracy entirely? French Revolution? Regicides after the British restoration? Ancient Greek democracy? The Roman Republic?

You don’t like change, and show that your principles derive from authority rather than thought.

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