A parliamentary committee has laid out safeguards for voluntary euthanasia in the ACT, should federal laws be changed to allow territories to legalise it in future.
But the end-of-life choices inquiry made no explicit recommendation to introduce assisted dying, in recognition that the territory has no legal power to enact a scheme.
The inquiry - which received 488 submissions, held 10 hearings and listened to 87 witnesses over the past 16 months - was tasked with looking at the options currently available to dying Canberrans and to consider what an assisted dying scheme in the ACT would look like.
It was convened in November 2017 amid a push in federal parliament to revoke Andrews Bill, which prevents the ACT and Northern Territory from making laws about euthanasia.
But the inquiry also heard of shortages in palliative care staffing in Canberra Hospital, bed block in Clare Holland House and horror stories of people dying unnecessarily traumatic deaths.
As a result, the committee has recommended the territory government assess the demand for palliative care in the ACT, look at extending funding for in-home palliative care, and further consider whether a dedicated palliative care ward at the Canberra Hospital is required.
The committee also recommended government carry out an independent investigation of Clare Holland House’s capacity to meet future demand for palliative care services.
And while the inquiry made no formal recommendations about euthanasia, a majority of the committee agreed that if the situation changed, safeguards needed to be in place including that participants be aged at least 18 years.
The person must also have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or serious condition that can't be relieved through palliative care.
At least one general practitioner must independently assess the person to ensure they are of sound mind, and they must have been given adequate information about assisted dying and the impact of their decision. They also must have access to counsellors and other support services.
In designing a scheme, the committee said a future Assembly should seriously consider the risks to elderly patients, including elder abuse, and find ways to reduce this risk.
There would also need to be safeguards in place to prevent people with disabilities being exploited through the scheme.
Provisions must also be in place for health professionals who did not want to be involved in any voluntary assisted dying scheme, including referral processes.
Palliative care funding would also need to be increased if voluntary euthanasia was introduced.
Committee chair Bec Cody said ultimately the committee could not make any formal recommendation on euthanasia until the federal restriction was lifted.
Labor member Tara Cheyne said despite this, the committee had made "meaningful recommendations [that] if the government chooses to implement them I believe will genuinely make a difference to people at the end of our lives".
Greens member Caroline Le Couteur apologised to anyone who had been given "false hope" that the committee could provide a path towards euthanasia.
"However I can say a majority of committee members support the continuing work with the Northern Territory to lobby the government to give the territories the right to make laws in this regard for its citizens and I guess I can hope the forthcoming federal election may lead to progress on that," Ms Le Couteur said.
But Liberal committee member Vicki Dunne noted that of the 274 submissions from ACT residents, 160 were opposed to euthanasia while only 108 were in support.
The committee also recommended the government improve "death literacy" in the Canberra community by funding so-called "death cafés".
The forums - which have been hosted in Canberra by Illawarra Retirement Trust and Palliative Care ACT -allow people to discuss grief, loss, end of life care and funeral options over coffee, tea and cakes
The movement began in Switzerland as a way of breaking down inhibitions to discuss and plan for death more freely.
The inquiry heard that people did not know how to talk about death nor how to plan for it.