Date published: 
26 February 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

Minister Coulton:

Today we've got the Canberra DonateLife Walk where thousands of people are showing their support for organ donation walking around the lake. Beautiful morning, rainbows to celebrate new life, just as organ donation gives new life to people.

We're also announcing the outcomes for organ donation last year. And 1,683 people got a new chance at life because of organ donation. 548 people who lost their lives were able to donate their organs to make that happen.

There were another 239 people who were living donors, who donated an organ and made a difference to someone else. This is very, very important, that we've had a big increase across the country of people who have registered. But there's more to do.

Here in Canberra, the registration rates are low. So go online. It only takes a minute to go DonateLife.gov.au and more importantly, talk to your family. That's the action -  that's the real clincher.

It’s probably going to be the worst time in your family's life when they have to discuss this at the end of life of a loved one, but it's such an important decision that they know what your wishes are.

Talk to your family and friends, talk to other people get them to register, DonateLife, it such an important thing, it saves so many lives.

Question:

I guess those rates remain pretty low with people becoming organ donors. What's your message to them?

Minister Coulton:

We need such a large number of people to register, because of the 80,000 people who pass away in a hospital, only 1,300 - two per cent - are finally be eligible for organ donation.

So we need to have hundreds of thousands of people who are registered, because the process of becoming an actual organ donor does come down to quite a small percentage of those that are registered. That's the important thing.

We need such a large field of people, because not everyone's organs can be used. You have to die in a hospital, you have to die in a certain way at a certain time. The message is: we need more people to register.

Okay. The other thing is everyone in Australia can register.

You don't have to live in a capital city, you don't have to live near a big hospital.

Twelve years ago, there was a tragic accident in my little hometown a long way from a capital city.

Three young 13-year-olds lost their lives, one of those a young lad I knew called Callum.

His death ultimately saved the lives of four other people. So it it's something for all Australians, you don't have to live in the capital city.

It’s a family discussion, because sometimes, sadly people will pass away at a younger age, and it's important that even younger people's wishes are known so the family can make that decision.

Young Callum, they'd actually discussed it as a family - so it wasn't a hard decision for his mum and dad to make.

A very sad time for the family, but knowing that it saved four lives was such an important thing for them.