15/01/2017 10:21 AM AEDT | Updated 16/01/2017 10:43 AM AEDT

Record Australian Organ Donations A 'Testament To What Is Possible'

More Australians than ever are giving the gift of life.

Keith Bedford / Reuters
Organ donation surged in Australia in 2016, according to new government data.

A record number of Australians gave the gift of life last year by donating their organs to those in need, the federal government says.

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, said new figures showed a best ever 1,448 Aussies were given a second chance at life in 2016 due to the generosity of 503 deceased organ donors.

He said the numbers, 16 per cent better than the previous year, resulted in a 17 per cent lift in the number of lives saved.

"Last year also marked a change in living donation rates, with our second highest number of living donors since 2010," Wyatt said on Sunday.

He said 267 people received a living donation in 2016, representing a nine per cent improvement from the previous year.

Wyatt said the figures demonstrated that the federal government, along with the states and territories, were making organ and tissue donation a priority.

The pleasing data release comes after France earlier this month introduced laws to make all citizens organ donors, unless they opt out. However, it's unlikely that Australia will follow such a move.

"These results are a testament to what is possible when we work together on a common goal, with 2016 seeing seven of eight states and territories achieving an increase in deceased donor numbers," Wyatt added.

"The decision to donate is one of the most selfless acts not only for the person receiving a lifesaving transplant but their families, friends and the communities they live in.

"It's crucial that we talk together and raise awareness and acceptance of organ and tissue donation and continue to increase national consent rates in 2017 and beyond."


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