National program

On 2 July 2008, the Australian Government announced the national reform program to implement a leading practice approach to organ and tissue donation for transplantation. The program was endorsed by the then Council of Australian Governments on 3 July 2008.   

The national program aims to improve access to transplants for Australians by increasing deceased organ and tissue donation.  

The twin objectives of the national program are to:  

  • increase the capability and capacity within the health system to maximise donation rates  
  • build community awareness and stakeholder engagement across Australia to promote organ and tissue donation.  

The national program is informed by international best practice. Evidence from comparable countries demonstrates that a coordinated national approach and system, focused on clinical practice reform in hospitals, improves organ donation and transplantation rates.   

The key reform elements adopted in Australia, and by international leaders, in organ and tissue donation are:  

  • a national coordinating authority (in Australia this is the OTA)  
  • hospital-based clinical donation specialists (doctors and nurses)  
  • specialist training for clinical staff in management of the deceased donation process and donation conversations with families at end of life  
  • implementation of a clinical governance framework that supports quality assurance and audit of hospital clinical practice and governance of the donation process  
  • financial support to donor hospitals to ensure that costs related to donor management are not a barrier to donation  
  • media engagement and national community awareness and education 
  • international cooperation to share best practice.  

The OTA leads the national program in partnership with the DonateLife Network, state and territory governments, the organ donation and transplantation clinical sectors, the eye and tissue sectors, hospitals, community organisations and the public to increase donation and transplantation in Australia.

Our purpose

To save and improve the lives of more Australians through optimising every potential organ and tissue donation for transplantation.

Our Strategy 2022-2027

Our Strategy 2022–2027 is informed by insights from our advisory committees with clinical expertise and lived experience—including from donor families and transplant recipients. 

The OTA aims to return donation and transplantation activity to pre-pandemic levels and to drive further improvements. We aim to achieve this through 3 key goals of building support across the community, optimising opportunities in the clinical sector and enhancing systems to enable quality outcomes.