On June 24, 2021, South Australia (SA) became the fourth Australian state to pass a VAD law. The bill received Royal Assent on August 24, 2021.
VAD commenced in SA on January 31, 2023. Care Navigators in SA Health provide support and guidance to people requesting information about VAD, including locating VAD trained doctors to undertake the two VAD assessments required to become eligible for VAD. In the first six weeks, six people made use of the provisions of the Act to end their suffering.
On June 24, 2021, South Australia became the 4th Australian state to pass a VAD law. The bill received Royal Assent on August 24, 2021. After some delay an implementation process was established in December 2021. This includes a Task Force and five different Working Groups covering areas such as Care Pathways, Community Information, Clinical Guidelines, Education and Training, Pharmacy Protocol.
In June 2021, it was anticipated that voluntary assisted dying would be available in South Australia by mid to late 2022. However, during a public meeting on Sunday November 14 2021 at the Goodwood Community Centre, Health and Wellbeing Minister Hon Stephen Wade, MLC, explained that the VAD Act is not expected to come into operation until March 2023, 21 months after the legislation was passed. The new Government elected in March 2022 has advised that commencement will be brought forward.
The bill was largely modelled on the law in Victoria.
This is the first piece of Australian VAD legislation to explicitly extend the right of conscientious objection beyond individuals to institutions. In SA, private hospitals will be able to exercise the right but residential aged care facilities will not. This ensures faith-based aged care providers will not be able to stop an eligible person accessing VAD in a residential aged care facility. States which debated VAD after South Australia contain similar provisions in their legislation (Queensland and NSW.)