DONATELIFE WEEK

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (14:40): My question is directed to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the minister update the council on organ donation in South Australia?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:40): I thank the honourable member for his question. Organ donation is an act of great generosity, generosity both from the individual donating and from their families. It also makes a world-changing difference to people needing donations. Last year, 36 South Australian donors saved the lives of 95 people on the organ recipient waitlist, giving them the ultimate gift of life. In this respect, I am very pleased to hear that this year has already proven to be a busy year in terms of the number of donations made. But, still, 1,400 Australians are waiting for an organ transplantation.

The honourable member's question is very timely as we are in the middle of DonateLife Week, a national initiative to raise awareness of organ donation and the importance of open discussions around donation. South Australia leads the nation in organ donation. We have the highest level of donor registrations, at 68 per cent, and when asked to confirm a loved one's wishes to proceed with donation, 73 per cent of families in South Australia give consent—again, leading the nation.

Despite this, with many recipients on transplant waiting lists around Australia, there is an ongoing need for Australians and South Australians to register their donation decision and also to discuss this decision with their loved ones. These two simple steps could save lives. This is a crucial point sometimes overlooked by individuals generous enough to register themselves as organ donors. It is vital to have a discussion with your family about your choice, to make them aware of your choice, to increase their comfort with your choice, and to affirm the importance to you that your choice is respected. It is good that three-quarters of South Australian families consented to their loved ones' organs being donated, but that still means that one in four do not provide consent. Organs which could have had a positive impact on another life are not available.

This Sunday past, I had the privilege of opening DonateLife Week in South Australia. It kicked off with what they called an amazing race, and the weather was perfect for it. The teams were made up of donors, donor recipients, family and friends and some of the health professionals who provide care. SA Health was represented with a team, although they were not on the winner's podium at the end of the day; that honour went to the team assembled by Dr Stewart Moodie, the medical director of DonateLife SA, and I congratulate him and his team for their effort in the fun race and for supporting awareness of organ donation in South Australia.

Organ donation is an important decision for individuals and their families and its impact is also very important. This DonateLife Week I ask South Australians to consider registering as donors, if they have not done so already, and if they have made the organ donation decision, to discuss their decision with their families at the same time.