Qld to have euthanasia system by May 2021

·2-min read

Queenslanders living with chronic pain or terminal illness will be legally able to die at a time of their choosing from May 2021 after the state completed a review of legalising euthanasia.

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman tabled the Queensland Law Reform Commission's review in state parliament on Wednesday, more than two months before it was due on May 10.

"This is a deeply personal issue for so many Queenslanders and something I am determined to see happen," she told parliament.

"I believe everyone should have choices about how they end their life and have dignity and death."

Ms Fentiman says the "implementation period" will take 15 months, meaning that even if euthanasia laws are passed Queenslanders may not be able to voluntarily die until May 2021.

Euthanasia has been legalised in Western Australia, Victoria and New Zealand in recent years.

Victoria's model allows adult patients suffering intolerable pain and already dying of a terminal illness to access a lethal drug.

Crossbenchers are set to bring forward a debate about it NSW parliament this year, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she's personally uncomfortable with such a policy.

A Queensland parliamentary committee first recommended voluntary assisted dying laws in March 2020 after holding 41 hearings and receiving 4729 submissions.

During the October state election, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pledged to introduce euthanasia laws to parliament this month.

The QLRC released a consultation paper on October 16, with submissions closing on November 27.

However, the state government announced in December it would push back that date for introducing the laws until May, blaming a delay in the QLRC inquiry.

The commission has been investigating a euthanasia model suited to the state's geography, population diversity, access to healthcare and the public and private hospital systems.

It received 124 submissions, including from people close to the end of their lives or family members of people in that situation.

The QLRC wasn't considering whether voluntary assisted dying laws should exist or not, but recommending the best legal framework for the laws.