Changes made to death Bill

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS -

LAST-MINUTE changes have been made to Vic­to­ria’s pro­posed con­tro­ver­sial vol­un­tary as­sisted dy­ing laws, along with a $62 mil­lion pal­lia­tive care pack­age in a bid to get the Bill through state Par­lia­ment.

The An­drews Govern­ment yes­ter­day slashed the re­quired life ex­pectancy for ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients to ac­cess the scheme from 12 months to six.

And in an ef­fort to de­ter “death tourism” peo­ple must live in Vic­to­ria for at least 12 months be­fore they can ap­ply for the scheme.

“It has be­come ap­par­ent to us over the last cou­ple of weeks that pas­sage through the (Leg­isla­tive) Coun­cil will be more dif­fi­cult,” At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Martin Pakula said. “These amend­ments give the Bill the best chance of pass­ing through.”

De­spite the new life ex­pectancy guidelines, pa­tients suf­fer­ing neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tions with 12 months or less to live will be granted ac­cess to the scheme.

Af­ter an out­cry that the orig­i­nal scheme did not in­clude ex­tra pal­lia­tive care fund­ing, the Govern­ment also an­nounced a $62 mil­lion pack­age yes­ter­day.

Cur­rently the Bill has 20 votes of sup­port, but it needs 21 to pass the Up­per House.

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