Wednesday, 16 June 2021
Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Amendment (Governance and Other Measures) Bill 2021; Second Reading
That this bill be now read a second time.
Australia has implemented a best-practice donation system and is a leader in organ transplantation. Since the commencement of the Australian government's national program to increase organ and tissue donation for transplantation in 2009 there has been a trend of significant growth in donation rates, with more than 14,000 Australians receiving a life-saving organ transplant.
For someone who is seriously ill an organ or a tissue transplant can mean the difference between life and death, between being healthy or sick, between seeing or being blind, between being active or never walking again. Transplantation enables people to resume an active role in their family, workplace and community.
Organ donation gives someone who has organ failure a second chance at life. Few people have the opportunity to become an organ donor. An individual needs to die in hospital, with organs functioning well, to be a donor. Only around two per cent of people who die in a hospital are able to be considered for organ donation, and that's only around 1,300 people a year.
The Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority, commonly known as the Organ and Tissue Authority, manages the implementation of the Australian government's national reform program to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation in partnership with state and territory governments, the national DonateLife Network, the donation and transplantation clinical sectors, eye and tissue banks and the community.
Under the current governance arrangements of the Organ and Tissue Authority the board is accountable under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, the PGPA Act, and reports directly to the responsible Commonwealth minister. The chief executive officer is a member of the board and is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the organisation.
The board was established on 1 July 2017 following a review of the implementation of the national reform agenda on organ and tissue donation and transplantation conducted by Ernst & Young in 2016. Following the review, legislative changes established the board as an accountable authority of the Organ and Tissue Authority under the PGPA Act. This resulted in OTA becoming the first non-corporate Commonwealth entity to have a governance board as the accountable authority.
In July 2020 the Organ and Tissue Authority governance board undertook an internal review as required under the board's charter. The results indicated a clear consensus from board members on the need for increased time and capacity to contribute to the organisation's strategic direction and provide advice and support to the CEO.
This bill will transition the role of accountable authority from the board back to the CEO and replace the existing governance board with an advisory board under the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Act 2008. These governance changes will align the Organ and Tissue Authority with the governance structures of most other non-corporate Commonwealth entities.
This bill will amend the functions of the CEO to include all functions of an accountable authority under the PGPA Act and establish the advisory board to provide advice and expertise to the CEO on organ and tissue donation and transplantation matters. There are no changes to the existing functions of the Organ and Tissue Authority.
The advisory board will have skills based membership harnessing expertise, experience and knowledge from a broad range of areas from within the organ and tissue sector, including: public administration of business or management; hospital or health organisation leadership; health consumer of donation or transplantation services; promotion of donation and transplantation; community leadership and engagement; and clinical expertise in organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
All advisory board members except the chair will be appointed by the minister responsible for organ and tissue donation and transplantation matters in consultation with the jurisdictions. The chair will be appointed directly by the responsible minister.
These changes to the governance structure of the Organ and Tissue Authority will allow the board a greater strategic focus to provide expertise and advice to the work of the Organ and Tissue Authority. This will support the Organ and Tissue Authority to set the priorities for the future to improve organ and tissue donation, retrieval and transplantation outcomes.
I would like to acknowledge the valuable work of the Organ and Tissue Authority since its establishment. The transition of governance from the board to the CEO will better support the authority to more effectively achieve its strategic goals of saving life and improving the quality of life for more Australians.