Gift of Life has continued to pursue its main priorities: policy advocacy as well
as promotion of greater community awareness and education though events
and activities aimed at increasing organ and tissue donation.
We have raised a number of issues with the Government such as “soft” First
Person Consent, extended criteria for organ transplantation, equity of access
to donated organs, living donation and assistance with the logistic costs of
transport and accommodation for those from regional areas re-locating to
cities for transplantation.
Membership of the Organ and Tissue Advisory Council and the NHMRC
Expert Group examining ethical guidelines for organ transplantation has
offered excellent opportunities for additional input and influence. We also
participated in the OTA Communications Charter signatories meeting and the
DonateLife ACT community and consumer advisory committee.
We have organised a range of events and activities. Gift of Life’s DonateLife
Walk in February 2014 during DonateLife Week attracted high profile
representation for the launch and over 4,000 participants. The most recent
event on 25 February 2015 – sponsored by the Organ and Tissue Authority -
attracted around 5,000 participants and was launched for the first time by the
Governor-General as a major feature of the national DonateLife campaign.
Gift of Life’s Awards for ACT citizens who have made a major contribution to
community awareness of organ and tissue donation, presented by the ACT
Chief Minister, involved around 80 guests in November 2014 at the Legislative
Assembly. Both the Walks and the Awards attracted strong media coverage.
We also took part in orientation week at the ANU and Market Day at the
University of Canberra and addressed third year medical students at the ANU
in a joint presentation with the OTA and DonateLife ACT.
We have continued to pursue closer links to the ACT business community and
are now seeking to establish links with the newly formed Canberra Business
In 2014, while the number of Australians who donated fell by 3%, the
conversion rate increased resulting in the overall number of transplant
recipients falling by a small number. This reinforces the need to lift Australia’s
rate of organ and tissue donation in future - in particular, to lift family consent
rates to a much higher level as well as to examine opportunities to expand the
donor pool. There is a need to encourage people to discuss organ and tissue
donation with their family and close friends and to ask and know each other’s
donation decision. It is also important to register that decision on the
Australian Organ Donor Register. Significant progress is being achieved
through the Government’s reform program, but this process will take time and
much more remains to be done.