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Commission of cuts leaves organ and tissue donation sector in the dark



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CATHERINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

MEDIA RELEASE

COMMISSION OF CUTS LEAVES ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION SECTOR IN THE DARK

The Abbott Government’s grants freeze has left hundreds of community groups in the dark on their funding applications for events during DonateLife Week this February.

This is the only funding opportunity provided by the Commonwealth to help create awareness about organ and tissue donation. It should be above the cheap politics of the Coalition’s Commission of Cuts.

Each year organisations - from local community groups to national sporting teams - are awarded grants to hold events across Australia. This year, $460,000 in funding has been assessed and approved by the Authority, but this money is still sitting on Minister Peter Dutton’s desk.

DonateLife’s application guidelines stated that successful applicants would be notified by 27 September, and funding agreements would be executed by 18 October.

When asked in Senate Estimates yesterday whether the grants for DonateLife Week 2014 would proceed, Senator Nash provided the following insight:

Senator Nash: Well look there are a range of processes going on. What I’m trying to do is give you some comfort that those things that are of an urgent nature will be deliberated on in a timely fashion.

Senator McLucas: By whom?

Senator Nash: By those that are part of the process.

Senator McLucas: And who are they?

Senator Nash: That will be determined ongoing as we are working out the most appropriate way to go forward with these types of things.

Senator McLucas: I could say ‘yes, Minister’ but I’m not going to. Who are they? Not who the person but what agencies are part of this whole of government process to make a determination on whether we will have activities for DonateLife Week next year?

Senator Nash: Maybe I’m not being clear enough… There are a number of different processes being undertaken at the moment so there is no simple answer in terms of how the processes work, there are the broader whole of government approaches to things, there are those individual grants that are of a timely nature certainly the committee can be assured that those things that are of a timely nature will be attended to in a very, um, appropriate manner.

Senator McLucas: But we’ve missed the deadlines already! DonateLife Week is in February. These organisations have to prepare and plan, they have to go out and contract, book venues all these things need to happen. We need to know when we, you, can tell them whether they’re successful.

Senator Nash: Well I’ve certainly given you the answer that I’m going to, Senator.

Senator McLucas: That there’s a whole of government ‘thingy’?

The Authority’s CEO, Ms Yael Cass confirmed that all assessments have been made and successful applicants will be notified as soon as the freeze is lifted. Peter Dutton just needs to stop sitting on his hands.

Whatever further ‘range of processes’ need to be overcome, Minister Dutton should show some leadership and give certainty to the sector today.

THURSDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2013

MEDIA CONTACT: ALEXANDER WHITE 0488 134 359