The Nationals WA have called on the Minister for Health to extend consultations after four regional areas were denied a chance to communicate their views on Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) reforms proposed by the McGowan Government.
At present people living in the Pilbara, Great Southern, Gascoyne and Wheatbelt will have no opportunity to directly consult with the expert panel charged with carrying out public consultation on the VAD reforms, unless they travel to Perth or another region.
The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies wrote to Health Minister Roger Cook on 27 March, encouraging the Minister to extend consultation to all regions outside of Perth and better utilisation of Community Resource Centre (CRC) network as a conduit for government information.
Ms Davies said frustration from constituents in areas not included on the schedule of public hearings led to Moore MP Shane Love asking a question of the Minister in Parliament on 11 April.
“The Minister said he is ‘committed to hearing from the regions’ and that consultations had been extended to the Peel region whilst the Government was considering how to best engage the CRC network,” Ms Davies said.
“This consultation series will guide the creation of legislation that is arguably the most important to go before the WA Parliament in years.
“Nationals MPs met with the Ministerial Expert Panel this week and it is clear panel members are constrained by time. However, given the nature of this issue consultation needs to be done properly and that means providing a fair opportunity for West Australians to engage, no matter where they live.”
Health spokesperson Martin Aldridge said The Nationals had won a commitment from Minister Cook to have some towns with CRCs partake in virtual consultation.
“The Nationals recognise consultation in every community is not possible, nor practical, however we have encouraged the Minister to utilise the State-funded CRC network, which operates in more than 100 regional and remote communities,” Mr Aldridge said.
“CRCs have advanced video-conferencing technology that would allow for virtual consultation with the panel to take place simultaneously.
“I’m pleased the Minister is receptive to this idea.”
To participate in the public consultations or to make a submission visit: www.health.wa.gov.au/voluntaryassisteddying