Voluntary Assisted Dying must be accessible to regional NSW
Independent MP for Murray Helen Dalton has welcomed the legalisation of Voluntary Assisted Dying in NSW, but cautioned a huge amount of funding is needed to make the laws accessible to regional residents.
Mrs Dalton co-sponsored Independent MP Alex Greenwich’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, which passed both houses of NSW Parliament to become law on Thursday.
“The law change is long overdue,” Mrs Dalton said.
“It provides a sensible and humane way to allow terminally-ill patients to end their suffering with dignity, with plenty of safeguards in place.”
“A survey by Vote Compass indicated 81 per cent of people in my Murray electorate supported this change. I’m here to represent their views.”
Mrs Dalton said the challenge now is to make sure the new laws are accessible to regional residents.
“One safeguard in place within the new law is that eligibility for euthanasia must be signed off by two doctors,” Mrs Dalton said.
“In small towns, it’s hard enough to find one doctor, let alone two.”
“The NSW Government must address our chronic GP shortage and significantly increase funding for palliative care in regional areas to ensure rural people aren’t disadvantaged.”
“In 2019, abortion was decriminalised in NSW. A lot of people celebrated this in Sydney. But there is still nowhere in the Murray electorate – an area of 107,000 square kms – when a woman can access abortion.”
“Passing new laws doesn’t mean much in the bush if there’s no funding for people to exercise their rights under legislation.”
Mrs Dalton also said it was hypocritical of NSW Premier Perrottet to oppose the new euthanasia laws.
“The Premier told Parliament, quote ‘the answer to suffering is to not offer death but care, comfort and compassion’.”
“But the Perrottet Government is not offering any care, comfort and compassion to rural health patients.”
“Griffith and Deniliquin cancer patients are having to wait up to eight weeks for lifesaving cancer treatment, because this government won’t fund extra clinics.”
“The Premier needs to fight as hard for sick people trying to stay alive as he did to stop Voluntary Assisted Dying.”