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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 2 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 753..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The awards presented this morning are part of a week-long program of activities all across Canberra, all aimed at improving awareness of the importance of organ donation and the role each of us can play in boosting donation rates.

It is not just about getting on the register either. A great many people do not know that, even if they sign on to the register, their family would still have the final say in the event of their death. That makes it absolutely critical that awareness not remain in the head and the heart of the person signing on as a donor. It makes it critical that the potential donor talk to his or her family members so that, if and when the time came for a decision to be made, those left behind might be more inclined to honour the wishes of their loved one.

Events such as today's ceremony are opportunities to get that message out, through the media and through forums such as this Assembly, into the broader community.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, what advances in organ donation registration have been made in recent years with the support and assistance of the ACT government?

MR STANHOPE: The number of Canberrans who are registered on the national organ donor register has grown significantly over this past decade. In 2000, there were just 200 ACT residents on the register. The figure is now, I have heard this morning, in excess of 50,000. I should acknowledge, over that period, two leaders of campaigns to enhance awareness and the successful campaigns that have led to that dramatic increase. Harold Hird, an esteemed ex-member of this place, was chairman of—I am not sure of the full name of the organisation that Harold chaired—

Ms Gallagher: Gift of Life?

MR STANHOPE: I think it was Gift of Life; I was not sure if they had been through a name change. Harold Hird led that organisation for many years, and very successfully. He has been succeeded by Anne Cahill Lambert, who has continued the work which Harold Hird started. Anne has shown tremendous leadership through her energy and commitment and has achieved quite wonderful outcomes here in the ACT.

The ACT helps fund Gift of Life ACT's work, raising community awareness. The former ACT organ and tissue donation service at the Canberra Hospital—now expanded and renamed under the national organ and tissue donation reform initiative as DonateLife ACT—has also played a very significant role.

One of the most notable advances of recent times has been the creation, in January last year, of the Organ and Tissue Authority, a commonwealth statutory authority with its own legislation which sits within the commonwealth's health and ageing portfolio. The job of the authority is to establish an approach in partnership with state and territory governments as well as the medical profession, Australians on donation waiting lists and the broader community. There has been enormous progress in this area in the last few years.


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