Families of organ donors now have the option of recognising their loved one’s generous gift of life in their death register.

Amendments to the ACT’s Births, Death and Marriages Act to allow the change are the first of their kind in Australia.

The change allows a donor’s next of kin the option of having the statement “The deceased gave a gift of life, generously donating organs/tissue” added to the death register and the donor’s death certificate.

Families are also able to apply to have a written letter from the Chief Minister to acknowledge their loved ones contribution, either instead of an official death certificate mention.

ACT Human Rights Minister, Tara Cheyne said the ability for families to apply for the recognition isn’t time-limited and can be back dated.

“This ensures that families have control and agency in deciding if, how and when they wish to have their loved one’s donation recognised.”

“By not being time-limited, this removes any urgency in needing to decide about the acknowledgement and recognises that what might be right for each family can change over time.”


“It also means that families whose deceased loved one was an organ and/or tissue donor before these reforms came into effect will have these acknowledgment options available to them, too.”

To be eligible for the new acknowledgement, the donor must have passed away in the ACT.

“However, I welcome engagement from other states and territories which may wish to implement this legislation.” Ms Cheyne added.