A Riverina politician has accused NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet of "rank hypocrisy" for espousing the importance of caring for the dying while not backing that with government cash.
Murray MP Helen Dalton said the NSW government was not investing enough in such services in parts of the region.
"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," Mrs Dalton said.
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"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."
Mrs Dalton said that was "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 supported the legislation.
She was confident the bill had strong safeguards in place.
"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."
Mrs Dalton said it was difficult to admit that sometimes there was no hope.
"We are an optimistic people," she said.
"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.
That was in order to ease concerns that 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 member 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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