What we're doing about blood and blood products
The Australian Government and state and territory governments jointly fund the supply of blood and blood products. Find out what we’re doing to make sure Australia has a safe and sustainable supply of blood and blood products.
The Australian Government and state and territory governments jointly fund the supply of blood products and services under the National Blood Agreement.
This includes ongoing funding of the statutory agency, National Blood Authority (NBA). The NBA manages and coordinates arrangements for the supply of blood, blood products and blood services and their use, on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments.
Under the National Blood Agreement, we make sure our blood and blood products are:
- safe and of high quality
- used and managed according to best practice, including reducing waste
- free to patients who need them
- entirely donated by volunteer donors to the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood
- in line with international obligations and standards.
The majority of blood products in Australia are domestically sourced and manufactured. Australia imports the rest to meet patient demand wherever domestic manufacture is inadequate or unavailable. We set strict conditions on import and supply of such products to make sure these are safe.
The agreement also includes safe and effective non-blood, non-plasma medicine alternatives (defined as ‘blood-related products’).
The Jurisdictional Blood Committee provides advice and recommendations on blood policy issues to all Australian governments. The Australian Government is represented on the committee, working closely with state and territory governments to reach the best outcomes for the Australian public.
We also support and monitor research, to make sure our policies and programs follow the latest evidence and best practice.
Proposing changes to the national blood arrangements
Anyone can propose changes to products or services that are publicly funded under the national blood arrangements. Any decision to fund a new product or service is a joint decision of all governments.
The national legislation for blood and blood products is the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.
The Australian Government provides funding under the National Health Act 1953.
Human Tissue Acts govern blood and blood products in each Australian state and territory:
- Australian Capital Territory: Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1978
- New South Wales: Human Tissue Act 1983
- Northern Territory: Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1979
- Queensland: Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1979
- South Australia: Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1983
- Tasmania: Human Tissue Act 1985
- Victoria: Human Tissue Act 1982
- Western Australia: Human Tissue and Transplant Act 1982.
The National Blood Authority operates under the National Blood Authority Act 2003.
See other national legislation we administer.
Regulation and compliance
The Therapeutic Goods Administration regulates blood, blood components and plasma derivatives under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. This includes making sure that manufacturers uphold the manufacturing and product standards required by Australia.
Initiatives and programs
We fund programs and initiatives to:
- ensure a safe, secure and affordable national blood sector in Australia
- support patients who need blood and blood products.
- the Haemopoietic Progenitor Cell Program – helps patients with haematological or immune system conditions, and funds the International Searches Program, the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, and the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- Immunoglobulin Reviews – look at how we use government-funded immunoglobulin to treat selected conditions, to make sure it continues to be safe, effective and cost-effective
- the Value in Prescribing Immunoglobulin Program – educates doctors to improve the way we use immunoglobulin products
- the Haemophilia Foundation Australia – works to improve care and support for people with haemophilia, von Willebrand Disorder, and other bleeding disorders
- the Australian Haemophilia Centre Directors' Organisation – works to improve care and treatment of people with haemophilia and educate medical professionals.
The National Blood Sector Research and Development Program aims to help us:
- address evidence gaps in the blood sector in Australia
- respond to new evidence
- take up new technologies.
Lifeblood’s research and development program aims to help us:
- understand what motivates current and future donors
- maintain a sustainable blood supply from volunteer donors
- make sure manufactured blood products are safe and of high quality
- increase our manufacturing and testing capabilities
- improve our knowledge of transfusible blood products and how they interact with patients
- improve transfusion practice.
Lifeblood and the Kirby Institute’s Surveillance, Evaluation and Research Program monitors HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections. It helps us understand trends over time, and develop effective programs and policies.
Who we work with
The Australian Government and state and territory governments jointly fund blood products and services, and set blood, blood services and blood products policy.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is the regulator.
Our statutory authority, the National Blood Authority, manages and coordinates the supply of blood, blood products and blood services in Australia.
The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood collects, tests and processes fresh blood products.