The National Rugby League (NRL) and the Turnbull Government have kicked off a lifesaving partnership to mark the start of DonateLife Week, aiming to help double the number of Australians registered as organ and tissue donors.
Aged Care Minister and Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM said the partnership was a significant opportunity to encourage millions of NRL fans and players to sign on to the Australian Organ Donor Register.
"I congratulate the NRL for tackling the challenge of trying to double the rate of organ donor registration," Minister Wyatt said.
"33 per cent of Australians are currently registered to give the gift of life but surveys reveal 67 per cent are prepared to donate, they just haven't got around to registering.
"NRL partnership activities will include promotions during Grand Final Week.
"The NRL will also engage fans on the importance of registration and family discussion of organ donation across its digital and social media platforms."
Minister for Sport, Greg Hunt, said NRL DonateLife Ambassadors, including former Parramatta Eels legend Nathan Hindmarsh, would play an important role.
"At present, around 1,400 Australians are waiting for the gift of a lifesaving transplant, that’s why partnerships with major organisations like the NRL are so important," said Minister Hunt.
"Registering your donation decision is vital because it leaves your family in no doubt of your decision to save lives as an organ and tissue donor."
Last year, a record 1,713 Australians received transplants, thanks to the generosity of 503 deceased and 267 living organ donors and their families.
Research shows nine in 10 families will agree to organ donation when their deceased loved one is a registered donor.
To encourage more living donors, the Turnbull Government committed
$4.1 million in this year’s Budget to a four-year extension of the Supporting Living Organ Donors Program.
The program reimburses living donors for time off work or out-of-pocket expenses, to help lift donation rates and reduce waiting lists.
A new online form at donatelife.gov.au makes registration easy, taking just a minute or two on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer.