The release of the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry 2015 Activity Report confirms more lives were saved in 2015 through organ donation than in any previous year.
The figures show a record 1,241 lives were saved or transformed through the incredible sacrifice and generosity of donors in 2015.
This is an increase of 12 per cent over the 2014 figure, and 55 per cent since the DonateLife Network was started in 2009.
2015 also saw a record 435 deceased organ donors, an increase of 15 per cent over the 2014 figure, and a massive 76 per cent since 2009.
In 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd committed to making organ and tissue donation a national priority. Whilst there is still much work to be done, the release last week of the second independent review into the policies and the 2015 results confirm Labor’s reforms are working. The government now needs to get behind them and ensure these good results continue.
The decision by family members and loved ones to proceed with organ and tissue donation is almost always made in extremely difficult and traumatic circumstances.
The gift of life is one of the greatest gifts families can give, and I pay tribute to all those families and loved ones who made this difficult decision in 2015.
I also pay tribute to the contribution of outgoing Organ and Tissue Authority CEO Ms Yael Cass.
The success of the reform program over the past five years is a direct result of Ms Cass’ experience, professionalism and diligence.
Ms Cass’ role in working collaboratively with the sector and guiding these reforms has undoubtedly saved lives. Her task was not made easier by the number of hours she spent sharing information, listening to and working with groups that did not share the bipartisan commitment to these reforms. Her professionalism in doing so is to be commended, and it was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with her during my time as Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing.
Ms Cass is a person of huge capacity who I know will continue to make a strong contribution to health policy in Australia for many years to come.