Posted October 3rd, 2023

Member for Myall Lakes, Tanya Thompson, has expressed deep concern over the decision by the Labor Government to slash $150 million from palliative care funding. This move not only jeopardises the well-being of terminally ill patients but also adds to the burdens faced by their families, particularly in an electorate like Myall Lakes with the oldest demographic in New South Wales.

The Labor Government has redirected essential funds away from palliative care, which supports services such as palliative care nurses, pain management drugs, and improved end-of-life care. Simultaneously, the government has committed a substantial $97 million to implement Voluntary Assisted Dying laws, scheduled to take effect from November.

Tanya Thompson expressed her dismay at this decision, stating, “It is disheartening to witness such a significant reduction in funding for palliative care, a critical lifeline for our aging population. Our community deserves the utmost care and support during their most vulnerable moments.”

Great Lakes Palliative Care Support have voiced their concerns, president Deidre Stokes emphasised the impact of these cuts on their essential services to the community, saying, “We are a not-for-profit charity that relies on voluntary fund raising and community donations to provide support to palliative care patients, carers and families of our area. We are already committed to providing assistance that is not readily available, I expect the need for assistance will escalate due to funding cuts.”

Former Premier Dominic Perrottet’s earlier commitment to inject an additional $743 million into end-of-life care is now overshadowed by the removal of some of that funding. This drastic change in priorities, allocating resources to Voluntary Assisted Dying laws over palliative care, has left many questioning the government’s commitment to providing comprehensive healthcare for the terminally ill.

Deputy Nationals Leader Bronnie Taylor, a former palliative care nurse, emphasised the importance of investing in end-of-life care, she stated there has “never been a more important time” to invest in end-of-life care, given the impending legalisation of Voluntary Assisted Dying.

Tanya Thompson urges the Labor Government to, “reconsider its decision and reinstate funding for palliative care, ensuring that the needs of the elderly and terminally ill are met with compassion and respect.”

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