Proud to Start the Donatelife Walk
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What a pleasure it is to be with you all this morning for this year’s DonateLife Walk.
Can I firstly pay my respects to the traditional owners of this land, their elders past and present, and those who may be joining us today.
I also want to thank my hardy Parliamentary colleagues
- Ministers Tania Plibersek, Kevin Rudd and Mark Butler
- ACT Health Minister Katy Gallagher
- The Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann
- Dr Dennis Jensen
- Senator Claire Moore
I particularly want to welcome and thank David O’Leary, the president of Gift and Life – himself a liver transplant recipient – and members of his board.
It is the hard work of Gift of Life ACT, with their many supporters, which has yet again delivered what I know will be an inspiring event.
I would also like to acknowledge the presence of Dr.Helen Watchirs, whose late husband Terry Connolly was a well-known and much loved Canberran and whom this walk was originally named after, and we remember today his noble decision to be a donor.
It’s no wonder this remarkable event continues to grow each year, given the wonderful cause it supports and the great beauty of this place in the early morning.
I encourage you all to have a chat as you walk around the Lake today and, let’s face it, that’s what today and this week is all about – coming together to have a conversation about organ and tissue donation.
The Australian Government, through the Organ and Tissue Authority’s Community Awareness Grants, is proud to sponsor today’s DonateLife Walk.
During DonateLife Week, which runs until Sunday, events just like today’s are taking place across Australia promoting the message that
- ‘Any day is a good day to talk about organ and tissue donation – especially this week, because it’s DonateLife Week’.
You are here because you know about the challenge of organ and tissue donation
You will know that in 2008 the Government committed to a $151 million national reform program for organ and tissue donation.
You know DonateLife Week is part of the Government’s national DonateLife awareness campaign, to increase family discussion about personal donation wishes.
You will already know how vital that discussion is because, in Australia, family confirmation of consent is always sought before donation can proceed.
You probably know that 60 per cent of families give consent for organ and tissue donation to proceed.
You will know, too, that 40 per cent of Australians do not know the donation wishes of their loved ones.
We need to let Australians know it’s OK to talk about organ and tissue donation – about what you and your loved ones want to happen if one of you dies.
You will also know we are making progress.
Last year, the first full year of the national reform program, we achieved the highest rate of donations ever in this country.
A record 309 deceased Australians donated their organs and tissue for transplant - saving or improving the lives of 931 Australians.
The challenge is to sustain the historic increase, and to build on it.
As you walk and talk this morning, I encourage you to think about how you can be part of this national initiative by encouraging your work colleagues, your family, your friends to talk about it any day this week.
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