Carers ACT Welcomes ACT’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation

  • Carers ACT Welcomes ACT’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation image

Media Release 1/11/2023, Canberra, ACT — Carers ACT, the voice and advocate for carers in the ACT, welcomes the historic announcement by the Chief Minister of the ACT, Andrew Barr, regarding the passing of the Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) legislation. This progressive move signifies a pivotal moment in recognising the rights and choices of Canberrans who are suffering and dying, and Carers ACT stands in support of this significant step forward, and beside their carers who will be affected. 

Carers ACT understands that the availability of VAD may not be the choice for everyone facing palliative care needs, but we believe that the option provides an additional layer of comfort and autonomy to those who wish to have control over the final chapters of their life. Our primary focus is on ensuring that carers are supported to care for their loved ones with the utmost dignity and respect. 

Ms. Lisa Kelly, CEO of Carers ACT, expressed her thoughts on this milestone, saying, “We are pleased to see that the option of Voluntary Assisted Dying will now be available in the ACT. While we acknowledge that not everyone will choose this option, it is a vital step in providing comfort for those who do. Carers caring for people with palliative care needs want good palliative care options and supports that enable them to care for the person with dignity and respect. The introduction of VAD will support this in cases where it is the person’s choice.” 

This legislation incorporates robust safeguards, designed to protect both vulnerable individuals and the carers who stand by them during their most challenging moments. The rigorous multi-step request and assessment process, conducted by qualified health professionals, ensures that VAD is a deeply considered and informed choice. 

One of the strengths of the ACT’s approach to VAD has been the exemplary process of development. The extensive community and stakeholder consultations, coupled with co-design principles, have led to an evidence-based model that considers the needs and desires of the people it will serve. 

Ms. Kelly appreciates the ACT Government’s compassionate approach to the introduction of Voluntary Assisted Dying, stating “Carers ACT commends the ACT Government’s commitment to addressing the complex and sensitive issue of voluntary assisted dying with compassion, care, and the highest ethical standards. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the government to ensure that carers’ voices are heard and their needs are met as the VAD scheme is established and operationalised over the coming months.” 

About Carers ACT: Carers ACT is a leading organisation dedicated to providing support services for unpaid carers in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). With a mission to enhance the well-being of carers, Carers ACT offers a wide range of services, including information, education, advocacy, and direct support. The organisation is committed to recognising the vital role of unpaid carers and ensuring they have access to the resources they need. 

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