Member for Murray Helen Dalton has accused the Premier Dominic Perrottet of 'rank hypocrisy' for espousing the importance of caring for the dying while not investing further in cancer services in parts of the Riverina such as Griffith.
"The idea that voluntary assisted dying is a slippery slope that leads us to devaluing of life is just plain wrong, because the government has been sliding us down that slope for years," she said.
"Just look at the treatment of those in aged care, of children in state government foster care, and of Indigenous people in Far West NSW, where life expectancy is as low as 37 in some towns.
"That is a disgrace. The sanctity of life of those groups does not seem to matter to the government."
Mrs Dalton, who will vote for the voluntary assisted dying bill, said well over two thirds of her constituents support the legalisation.
She is confident the bill had strong safeguards in place.
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"We have often heard the phrase, 'Where there is life, there is hope'," she said.
"But the safeguards in the bill are designed to ensure that it will never be used where there is still hope of a cure.
"It is a hard thing to admit that sometimes there is no hope. We are an optimistic people.
"The passions aroused by the bill, I believe, come because it confronts us with our own mortality.
"It is hard to accept that despite the best care, despite the strongest will in the world, sometimes there is nothing more that can be done... and in those cases, I believe we owe it to the patient to give them the freedom to choose their final days."
Mrs Dalton urged the house to commit to better palliative care, especially in rural areas, to ease concerns voluntary assisted dying would be used as a replacement for adequate care.
"High quality palliative care and voluntary assisted dying are not mutually exclusive," the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP said.
"Many of those opposed to the bill also have the power to properly fund and improve palliative care across our state.
"However this house votes and whatever it resolves, I ask all members here to commit to closing the gap on rural health services, especially in palliative care."
"If those improvements are made in conjunction with the bill, then all people of this state will have the right and the ability to live and die on their own terms."
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