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End-of-life options to be available regardless of location: Fentiman

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In Queensland, the tyranny of distance is a factor in determining how people deal with the tragedy of terminal illness. That includes any option of euthanasia.

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The Palaszczuk Government will this year legislate to allow voluntary assisted dying, or euthanasia, and has asked the Queensland Law Reform Commission to draft the laws.

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman told parliament today the QLRC had to consider how the decentralised state, and varied access to health services, would factor into the new model.

“The QLRC has been focused on a model for voluntary assisted dying that would be suited to Queensland’s unique conditions, including its geography, population diversity, access to health practitioners and public and private hospital systems, as well as the fact that many Queenslanders live in remote parts of our great state,” Fentiman said.

Tabling an update from the QLRC, whose work is ongoing, Fentiman said the report was “the first step in delivering this important reform for Queensland”.

“We are getting on with the job,” Fentiman said.

“I understand that this is a deeply personal issue for so many Queenslanders, and something I am determined to see happen.”

The report states that the laws should be underpinned by the principle that “access to voluntary assisted dying and other end of life choices should be available irrespective of where the person lives in Queensland”.

“The system must be workable in Queensland,” the report states.

“Therefore, it is important that Queensland not adopt provisions from another jurisdiction which, upon analysis, are unnecessary or run counter to the policies that the legislation aims to implement.”

Meanwhile, Fentiman told parliament the government would start consultation on proposed shield laws for journalists after criticism from the Media, Arts and Entertainment Alliance last week. It comes as a television journalist faces punishment for refusing to reveal a source.

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