Date published: 
1 March 2017
Media type: 
Media release
General public

Minister for Health and Sport, Greg Hunt, and Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health , Ken Wyatt, today joined thousands of Canberra residents to show their support for organ and tissue donation by participating in the annual Gift of Life Walk around Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

Minister Hunt and Minister Wyatt joined the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) to open the 2017 Gift of Life DonateLife Walk.

Sponsored by the Organ and Tissue Authority, the walk is Canberra’s largest community activity in support of organ and tissue donation.

“More than 1,700 Australian lives were saved thanks to the generosity of 503 deceased and 267 living donors, and their families last year,” Minister Hunt said.

“Events like this walk are a perfect reminder that we all have the potential to save lives as organ and tissue donors.”

As a community, Canberra can be proud for leading the country in organ donation rates. In 2016, 20 people and their families improved the lives of other Australians on our transplant waiting lists by becoming organ donors. That was a 54% increase on 2015.

While Australia’s donation and transplantation rates continue to rise, the Government is committed to optimising opportunities for those in need of life saving transplants.

While the majority of Australians are willing to become organ donors, only around a third of Australians are on the Australian Organ Donor Register and only eight percent of people aged 18-24.

“Registration matters. We know that nine in ten families agree to donation proceeding if their loved one was registered and knew their wishes,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The Gift of Life’s DonateLife Walk contributes to our shared goal of encouraging more Australians to register on the Australian Organ Donor Register and to let their family and loved ones know of their donation decisions.

“I encourage all Australians to join the register online today - it takes minutes and is a decision that one day can save lives.”

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