During the past year, Gift of Life has been busy pursuing its main priorities:
policy advocacy as well as the promotion of greater community awareness
and education though events and activities aimed at increasing organ and
On the advocacy front, we have met with Parliamentary Secretary for Health
Catherine King, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, CEO of the Organ and
Tissue Authority Yael Cass as well as Authority staff and made submissions
on various issues such as the replacement of the NSW RTA driving licence
system with the national Organ and Tissue Donor Register run by Medicare.
We are delighted to learn that this important change was recently introduced
by the NSW Government.
We took part in the annual DonateLife Forum involving agencies throughout
Australia and DonateLife Communications Charter signatories meetings.
Recently, I was appointed by the Government to become a member of the
Organ and Tissue Authority Advisory Council. This is the first time that
representatives of leading community organisations such of Gift of Life have
been given the opportunity to contribute to the policy process in this way.
We also participated in meetings of DonateLife ACT advisory committees.
We have organised a range of events and activities. GoLi’s DonateLife Walk
last February attracted high profile representation and around 2,400
participants – a record over the six years we have organised the event. The
Chief Minister’s Awards for ACT citizens who have made a major contribution
to community awareness involved over 100 guests. Both events attracted
wide and positive media coverage during national DonateLife Week. We have
presented awards to a range of senior school colleges in recognition of their
active and strong participation at the Walk. We also took part in university
orientation week at the ANU and Market Day at the University of Canberra.
We have begun to take an interest in areas such as contact with indigenous
and priority cultural/religious groups with a view to encouraging them to
become more involved in organ and tissue donation. We have established
links to the ACT business community. We have established closer links with
the media. We are also currently exploring with the ACT Government our
proposal for a commemorative sculpture in Canberra to promote organ and
tissue donation and to recognize the generous role of donor families.
While organ and tissue donation rates around Australia are now at record
levels and continuing to grow significantly, there is a need to increase the rate
of organ and tissue donation. We need to make people’s wish count through
family discussion and signing onto the national register, so consent rates rise
significantly. Good progress is being made through the Government’s reform
program, but much more remains to be done.