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Australia: VAD bill introduced in ACT

Canberrans could have a compassionate voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law by the end of 2025, after the ACT Government introduced a bill to its Legislative Assembly today.

The proposed law would allow an adult with decision-making capacity to request VAD if they’re suffering intolerably from an advanced and progressive condition that’s expected to cause death. The person would need to live in the ACT or have a close connection to the territory and make the request voluntarily. 

Tara Cheyne MLA, who has long fought for choice and compassion, said it is a momentous day for the local community.

“It’s a proud day for Canberra and to show those naysayers that we have developed a very considered, evidence-based bill.”

Go Gentle CEO, Dr Linda Swan, welcomed the ACT Government’s decision not to include a timeframe to death:

“There was strong agreement from healthcare professionals at the inaugural Voluntary Assisted Dying Conference in Sydney that arbitrary timeframes are not a safeguard but a barrier to access for otherwise eligible people.”

A 5-member committee will now examine the legislation and report back by 25 February 2024. ACT lawmakers will then debate the bill which, if passed, could come into effect by the end of 2025.

To read more about the ACT’s proposed legislation, and stay up to date with the latest news, check out our blog.