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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1455 ..

Mr Gentleman: Madam Speaker, to make it very clear, there is no conflict of interest. I do not make the decision. The decision is up to the independent Planning and Land Authority.

MADAM SPEAKER: Standing order 114 states:

Questions may be put to a Minister relating to public affairs with which that Minister is officially connected, to proceedings pending—

Mrs Jones: He is officially connected.

MADAM SPEAKER: There is no official connection involving the minister between Labor and the Burns Club.

Organ and tissue donation—acknowledgement

DR PATERSON: My question is to the Minister for Human Rights. Minister, can you please outline how the government is recognising the gift of organ and tissue donation and providing that acknowledgement to the loved ones of donors?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Dr Paterson for the question. Organ and tissue donation is a truly remarkable gift. It is the gift of life. I am proud that the ACT government is the first jurisdiction in Australia to provide the loved ones of organ and tissue donors with two ways for a formal, tangible and entirely optional acknowledgement of this gift.

From last Thursday, 6 May, families of an organ donor in the ACT can request to have that donation recognised on their loved one’s death certificate and on the death register. If they wish, the statement “The deceased gave a gift of life, generously donating organs/tissue” will be added to the death register and to the donor’s death certificate.

Families can also request a formal letter from the Chief Minister. This is a letter personally acknowledging, on behalf of the people of the ACT, the significance to others of the contribution and the immeasurable impact this decision has made to others. These acknowledgements are entirely optional, up to the family and are not time limited. Families have control over deciding if, how and when they wish to have their loved one’s donation recognised. These are small acknowledgements but go some way to recognising the selfless gift of life.

DR PATERSON: Minister, what consultation was undertaken with donor families to develop these acknowledgements of organ and tissue donation?

MS CHEYNE: The guiding principles for these acknowledgements are that they are optional and entirely up to the family. They are to give families control and agency in deciding if, how and when to acknowledge their loved one’s donation. That is why the loved ones of organ donors have been very closely involved every step of the way, from advocating for this reform to the final touches of the scheme.

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