More Western Australians will now have the opportunity to comment on key issues related to proposed voluntary assisted dying legislation, due to be introduced to State Parliament later this year.
The McGowan Government has announced that additional public forums will be held in Mandurah, Carnarvon, Karratha and Northam due to high public demand. Targeted sessions to assist with providing written feedback have also been scheduled in Albany.
This follows the March release of a discussion paper by the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying, which outlines key issues for the proposed legislation.
Consultation sessions have already been scheduled throughout April and May in Perth, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and Broome.
The sessions will be led by members of the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying, chaired by Malcolm McCusker AC QC.
The Minister for Health will attend sessions in Carnarvon and Karratha to hear directly from members of the public and health professionals about their views on the questions asked in the discussion paper.
People who cannot attend a consultation session may lodge written submissions for consideration by the panel. Feedback will help inform the expert panel’s final report to the Government.
The purpose of the discussion paper and the public consultations is to assist the development of fully informed and workable legislation, not to review or debate the arguments for or against voluntary assisted dying.
The closing date for submissions in response to the discussion paper is May 24, 2019.
Registration details, the discussion paper and more information about the planned consultation sessions and upcoming legislation can be found on the Department of Health’s website at https://www.health.wa.gov.au/voluntaryassisteddying
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“Western Australians have shown consistent and widespread community support for voluntary assisted dying reform, and the McGowan Government is committed to ensuring the highest quality end-of-life and palliative care for all Western Australians.
“We have listened and responded to the community and members of parliament regarding regional consultation by the Ministerial Expert Panel, and are giving more people the opportunity to directly be involved.
“The public forums held to date have been well attended and have generated thoughtful discussion and important feedback to understand community views. We have also had a high written response rate.
“This consultation is crucial to make sure we have safe, compassionate and effective legislation that meets the needs of all Western Australians and I strongly encourage the community to be involved.”