VAD in Tasmania

Tasmania passed a Voluntary Assisted Dying law in March 2021. Voluntary assisted dying is not yet available in Tasmania ahead of its implementation on 23 October 2021. 

To use the law, a person must be:

  • Aged 18+
  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident ( or has been resident in Australia for at least 3 continuous years prior to making a first request), and has lived in Tasmania for at least 12 months. 
  • Diagnosed with an incurable disease, illness, injury or medical condition that:
    • is advanced, incurable and irreversible; and
    • is expected to cause death within six months (or 12 months if you have a neurodegenerative disorder, such as motor neurone disease). An exemption from these timeframes may be granted.
    • is causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person finds tolerable
  • Capable of making decisions about their medical treatment and communicate those decisions throughout the assessment process
  • Acting freely and without coercion

How can I learn more about voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania?

There are two ways to find out more about voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania.

  1. Ask your doctor. This could be your GP or a specialist. In Tasmania, doctors and healthcare workers are allowed to raise the topic of voluntary assisted dying with you, as long as they also tell you about other end-of-life options. However, some doctors may not readily offer information, so it is important that you ask.
    If your doctor can’t help you (they may not have done the voluntary assisted dying training or they may not want to be involved, known as “conscientious objection”) you are entitled to look for another doctor who is willing to help.
  2. Contact the Voluntary Assisted Dying Navigation Service. They are trained health professionals who provide information about voluntary assisted dying, and are best-placed to answer questions and guide you through the process. The navigation service has not started operating yet but you can send any queries to [email protected]

Useful tips

  • You must raise the topic of voluntary assisted dying with your doctor yourself. Nobody else can do it for you. This makes it clear that you are acting of your own free will and no-one is trying to influence you.  
  • To avoid stress and delays, start the process early. Fulfilling all the eligibility requirements can take weeks. For example, you must make three separate requests, be assessed by two doctors and there may be extra appointments to go to if there are any questions about your eligibility. Some of the documents you may need: your birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate (if you have changed your name) and proof of residence in Tasmania. Your doctor and/or the Voluntary Assisted Dying Navigation Service can help you with these.
  • In some exceptional cases, an application for voluntary assisted dying can be done more quickly if, for example, there is a risk you might die before the assessment process is finished. Ask your doctor and the Voluntary Assisted Dying Navigation Service  if you think this might apply to you. 
  • If the first doctor you speak to cannot help you (if they are not trained or they have opted out of voluntary assisted dying, known as “conscientious objection”), you are well within your rights to seek another doctor’s opinion. 
  • If you live in an aged care facility or retirement village, speak to the staff about your wish to use voluntary assisted dying as soon as possible. Not all facilities allow voluntary assisted dying on their premises and it’s best to find this out sooner rather than later.
  • If you feel comfortable to do so, you may want to discuss your wishes with your loved ones and medical team. Equally, you are legally allowed to keep your medical choices confidential if you prefer.
  • Voluntary Assisted Dying is voluntary for all involved. You can pause your application, or stop it altogether, at any time, if you change your mind.

Useful links:

Tasmania Voluntary Assisted Dying Navigation  Service 

Tasmania Department of Health

Dying with Dignity Tasmania

Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Commission

End of Life Law in Australia


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Find out more

We have free information sheets available for download on:

● The facts about Voluntary Assisted Dying

● Planning for the end of Life

● Vicarious trauma, secondary trauma and burnout

Download Here