How the NSW law works

In 2021, independent MP Alex Greenwich, introduced the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021.

In February 2022, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice released their report on the provisions of the bill, recommending the Legislative Council (Upper House) consider the bill. You can read more about the inquiry here and read the Committee's final report here.

In November 2021, the bill passed the Lower House by 52 votes to 32, and in May 2022 it passed the Upper House by 23-15 votes, after which it was ratified by the Lower House on 19 May 2022.  It will come into effect in January 2024.

Visit our FAQ page to find out how Voluntary Assisted dying laws work.

How the law will work

The NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022 is closely modelled on the Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Act. The key points are

  • The person must be 18 years or over; and
  • Be a resident of Queensland for at least 12 months and an Australian citizen or permanent resident; and
  • Have decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying; and
  • Act voluntary without coercion; and
  • Be diagnosed with an incurable disease, illness or medical condition that:
    • is advanced, progressive and will cause death; and
    • is expected to cause death within 6 months (or 12 months with a neurodegenerative condition)
    • is causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable.
  • To access the regime, a person has to make one verbal requests and two written requests.
  • Those requests have to be signed off by two doctors who are independent of each other.
  • There will be a minimum of nine days between the initial request and final approval.
  • A person may opt for self-administration or a medical practitioner to administer the drug.
  • Doctors and other healthcare workers are permitted to raise the option of assisted dying with their patients, if all other treatment options are also discussed.
  • The person must make the request themselves. Nobody else is authorised to make the request, and the request cannot be made via an advance care directive.
  • The person must maintain decision-making capacity.
  • Participating health practitioners must complete training for voluntary assisted dying.
  • Any healthcare worker may decline to participate for any reason, without penalty.
  • Institutions may decline to participate but must to hinder access in certain circumstances.
  • A Review Board will be established to receive assisted dying reports, to assess reports, and to refer unacceptable cases to disciplinary or prosecutorial authorities.
  • Parliament will periodically review the law and summary reports.

 

Read more about the Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation at  NSW Health.


Resources for Media

 

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