Concise Advice

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Laws

VAD laws in Australia vary from state to state, it is important to refer to your state’s laws and health department website for information on specific roles, eligibility, and training requirements specific to your state.

VAD laws are state specific and the commencement date varies for each state. Links to each law and commencement date can be located at the below table:

State Legislation Effective from
Victoria Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) 19 June 2019
Western Australia Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 (WA) 1 July 2021
Tasmania End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Act 2021 (TAS) 23 October 2022
Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 (QLD) 1 January 2023
South Australia Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 (SA) 31 January 2023
New South Wales Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022 (NSW) 28 November 2023


There are currently no VAD laws in ACT and the NT. ACT has recently held a public consultation and plan to have proposed VAD laws considered by Parliament in late 2023.

Whether or not a medical practitioner chooses to participate in VAD, there are obligations all medical practitioners should be aware of about the requirements that apply in their state. MDA National recommends that medical practitioners take the time to review the law/policy relevant to their state.

The Department of Health in each state has information about VAD, including consumer information, medical practitioner eligibility and training requirements, guidelines and reporting obligations specific to your state.

Medical practitioners have a choice to decide what roles in the VAD process they are comfortable participating in. Medical practitioners who conscientiously object should also be aware of the legal obligations and timeframes that apply if being presented with a person’s first request for VAD.

Roles for medical practitioners in the VAD process vary depending on whether a medical practitioner elects to participate in the VAD process and have undertaken the mandatory training.

For practitioners who choose to participate and have undertaken the required VAD training, roles may include:

  • Informing and educating the patient on VAD and other treatment options
  • Assessing a person’s eligibility for VAD
  • Prescribing VAD medication
  • Administering VAD medication to a person and disposing of VAD medication if necessary
  • Adhering to VAD reporting requirements

There are other roles related to the VAD process that medical practitioners can perform or could occur in clinical practice even if a medical practitioner elects not to participate in the VAD process or has not completed the mandatory training. These may include:

  • Providing information to a person about VAD
  • Receiving a person’s initial request for VAD
  • Assessing whether a person meets specific eligibility criteria for VAD, eg assessing a person’s decision making capacity
  • Being present (if asked) when a person self-administers VAD medication
  • Arranging transfer to another practitioner or health service so a person can access VAD
  • Documenting patient request for information in their medical record
  • Notifying the relevant state authority of the individual’s request


Source: ELDAC, Factsheets, VAD in aged care – roles and obligations for medical practitioners: accessed 27 March 2023

Any medical practitioner considering participating in the VAD process should refer to the eligibility requirements for their state.

Eligibility requirements vary between the states, some common requirements across all states include:

  • Hold fellowship with a specialist medical college, hold specialist registration with the Medical Board of Australia, or, minimum years of practicing experience if holding general registration with the Medical Board of Australia
  • Have no conditions on your registration with the Medical Board of Australia that may affect your ability to participate in the VAD process
  • Successfully complete the VAD approved / mandatory training in your state
Legal obligations apply for all medical practitioners, irrespective of their choice to participate in the VAD process. Obligations vary between states, and can include providing information on request, documenting your consultation, and notifying the relevant state authority.

All doctors have the option not to participate in the VAD process. Medical practitioners who choose not to participate in the VAD process due to personal beliefs, such as religious, moral or ethical grounds, can exercise a conscientious objection.

Medical practitioners exercising a conscientious objection need to be aware of their obligations pursuant to the Medical Board of Australia Code of Conduct - Good Medical Practice and the laws in their respective state to not impede an individual’s access to VAD and ensure they communicate with the patient in a respectful and courteous way. Obligations vary in each state and may involve:

  • Providing information to the individual about the request they are making
  • Informing the patient of your decision not to accept their request
  • Referring the individual to another medical practitioner or health service organisation where they can access VAD
  • Documenting the information in the patient’s medical record
  • Notifying the relevant state authority of the request received

Timeframes for communicating your decision to the patient and notifying the relevant state authority vary in each state.

There are currently no increases on MDA National premiums for Members participating in the VAD process. MDA National will however continue to monitor any emerging risks resulting from Members participating in the VAD process.

At present, there is no specific Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item number for VAD. MBS have published an explanatory note, GN.13.33 stating services which do not attract Medicare benefits include “euthanasia and any service directly related to the procedure. However, services rendered for counselling/assessment about euthanasia will attract benefits.”

Medical practitioners should consider the following when considering developing private billing fees for their service and involvement in the VAD process:

  • Consultation time, location and requirements
  • Documentation and paperwork requirements
  • Compliance with any relevant existing frameworks and guidance, such MBS, Medical Board of Australia Code of Conduct - Good Medical Practice
Participation in the VAD process is an individual choice for medical practitioners. There are many factors which may influence your decision making to participate in the VAD process to be considered prior to making your choice.

Some considerations for medical practitioners that can assist in making a choice to participate in the VAD process include:

  • Eligibility to participate
  • Availability and willingness to be involved
  • The level of involvement you would have
  • Whether your health service organisation has any policies, guidelines or positions about participation and capacity to participate
  • Resources, systems and processes available in your organisation to manage and support your involvement
  • Support available from trusted colleagues
The Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 makes communication about ‘suicide’ over a ‘carriage service’ unlawful. A Federal Court judgment in November 2023 found the term suicide, as used in the criminal code, does apply to the ending of a person’s life through voluntary assisted dying. As a result, health professionals risk prosecution if they carry out some VAD activities electronically (e.g. by telehealth, on the phone, or by email). Questions about this can be directed to your state’s health department.

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The information on this page is a guide only. Members are encouraged to contact us directly for specific advice. If you are not an MDA National Member, contact your medical indemnity insurer for advice specific to your situation.