A landmark parliamentary inquiry is considering whether Queenslanders should be allowed the right to die at a time of their choosing, as well as the future of aged care, and how the terminally ill and their loved ones are supported.
Chair of the Health Committee and Member for Thuringowa, Aaron Harper MP, is calling on all Queenslanders to get involved in the inquiry and have their say on the significant issues being addressed.
“Put simply, we are looking at three of the biggest issues that will affect the lives of all Queenslanders – care when we age, care if we become terminally ill, and having a choice in how and when we die,” Mr Harper said.
“These are not the usual kitchen table conversation topics, but it is probably time they were.
“We want to hear from people receiving aged care as well as their loved ones and friends, their doctors, nurses and carers, and the aged care providers. Our older people who need care are often highly vulnerable people who cannot advocate well for themselves. This makes our work that much more important.”
Mr Harper said people working in aged care were under huge pressure and the inquiry would make recommendations about how these could be alleviated to build a better, stronger aged care sector.
He said no-one should think aged care was exclusively a federal government issue. Aged care affected the whole health system and had huge implications for state and territory governments.
People were waiting in Queensland hospital beds now because they couldn’t get a place in an aged care home or the home care package they needed to remain in their own homes.
“Our inquiry is also looking at the care available to people dying prematurely from cancer and other terminal illnesses,” Mr Harper said. “Palliative care is about helping these people live as well as they can under the circumstances and providing support for their carers and others around them.”
Mr Harper said another critical issue the inquiry was examining was voluntary assisted dying.
“We are seeking the views of all Queenslanders on whether our state should follow Victoria and implement a system of voluntary assisted dying.”
The committee has published an issues paper explaining the issues. It is available from the committee’s webpage and from the secretariat at Parliament House – phone 07 3553 6626 or 1800 504 022.
The committee is taking written submissions until 15 April 2019, and oral submissions at public hearings will start late March. The committee must report its findings to the Queensland Parliament by 30 November 2019.
For further information, please phone the Committee secretariat on 07 3553 6626, email: email@example.com, or visit the committee’s website.