Posts Tagged ‘Victoria’

Despite the Federal Government dedicating millions of dollars to improving Australia’s extremely low organ donation rates there have been no clear improvements since the reform was implemented in 2009.

In 2008 the Australian Federal Government introduced a reform package with significant results expected over four years.

According to the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donor Registry (ANZOD) there were 337 donors in 2011 whose organs and tissues were donated to 1001 recipients.

Unfortunately, in the past year, organ donor rates have plateaued and donor numbers are now in decline.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked Australia 24th in the world last year.

In 2004 102 children died in Australia that weren’t organ donors.

In the same year, young Zaidee Turner and her family had been registered organ donors for over 5 years. A blood vessel burst in her brain causing her to suddenly die.

As a registered organ donor, Zaidee became one of the youngest Australians to donate her organs and tissues at just 7 years old.

Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation, partnered with DonateLife, was developed by Zaidee’s parents Kim and Allan Turner in an effort to raise national awareness of organ and tissue donation.

“Today the foundation is at the forefront of educating families about the need for more people to donate at the end of life.” – Zaidee’s dad, Allan Turner

Zaidee’s rainbow shoelaces have become a symbol of hope across Australia for those people on the transplant waiting lists, and are worn proudly by sporting heroes.

“Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.” – DonateLife.

In Australia the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased for the transplant donation to proceed. Unfortunately today only 60% of families give consent for organ and tissue donation to go ahead.

Unlike any other organ, humans can survive with just one kidney, however the official processes that possible donors must go through before donating their kidney is extremely taxing and time consuming.

If an individual’s family is not eligible to donate, whether it is due to disease or poor kidney function, the individual will be placed on the waiting list which on average can take anywhere between 6 months to 4 years.

In April 2000 at the age of nine Tate Goldsmith was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome FSGS.  The disease rapidly progressed and by October of 2001 she had started dialysis for renal failure.

Thankfully Tate was able to receive her Mum’s kidney via transplant in November 2002.

Dad’s kidney function wasn’t the best so if Mum couldn’t donate I would have had to go onto the waiting list which can really be a luck of the draw.” 

“Without a transplant I would require hospitalization 3 times a week for a minimum of 5 hours, and I wouldn’t be able to really drink anything as I’d have a fluid restriction of around 1 litre per day. It doesnt sound much but that includes ice cream, jelly, soup, anything with liquid. Also – I wouldn’t be able to eat a large majority of foods because my body wouldn’t be able to excrete potassium – no potatoes, tomatoes, chocolate, bananas…”

“If more people donate it really just gives them the opportunity to have a greater quality of life that cannot be achieved if someone has organ failure. I don’t think that anyone could undersand until the individual or someone immediate to them was in the situation.”

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There are currently around 1600 people on the organ donation waiting list.

Sadly, hundreds die waiting.

“The most important thing that helps a family’s decision is knowing the wishes of their loved one…” according to Jo Harrison, a spokesperson for DonateLife Victoria. “43% of Australian’s do not know or are unsure of their loved ones wishes.”

Will Chapman is suffering with progressive heart and lung failure at just nineteen years old. Without a heart and double lung transplant Will won’t make Christmas.

With the help from friends and family Will has produced a series of videos to urge more people to register and share their organ donation wishes.

Released in September 2012 Will’s Don’t Bury Me campaign highlights the dire need for change in order to save the lives of those on the waiting lists.

Below is a shortened version of Will’s video. For the full movie ‘A Gracious Gift‘ please go here.

To register as an organ donor please visit: Medicare Australia

For more information about organ donation please visit: DonateLife

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By Abid Ahmadzai

Victorian teachers and Education Support (ES) along with the Australian Education Union (AEU) took part in a 15,000 strong rally yesterday (September 5, 2012) to increase teacher’s salaries and for better working conditions in the state.

The rally took place at Rod Laver Arena where the Victorian branch president for the AEU, Mary Bluett, led the charge against the Baillieu governments broken promises.

Mrs Bluett said that the support numbers for the AEU had overwhelmingly grown and that the AEU had surpassed the 50,000 member mark for Victoria during the current action that’s taking place.

Many schools across the state had been affected by the strike action yesterday with schools and teachers from as far as Ballarat taking part in the strike.

“We estimate 400 schools are closed across the state,” Mrs Bluett said.

The Baillieu government has offered the AEU a 2.5 per cent increase in salaries along with the introduction of performance pay and contract employment.

According to a media release from the AEU, Western Australia and New South Wales teachers get paid “$7,441 and $2,822 respectively more than Victorian teachers for the same role”.

AEUVIC_12_Media Release_Historic statewide education strike_KB_040912

A complete joke and insult, according to Mrs Bluett.

Federal President for the AEU, Angelo Gavrielatos, said the Baillieu should honor their promise.

“Treat education support staff, teachers and principals in this state with the respect they earned and the respect they deserve”, Mr Gavrielatos said.

“The announcement in this year’s budget of a cut of $300 million from the TAFE budget is a fundamental attack on public education and an attack on the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in Victoria,” he said.

Mr Gavrielatos did however announce that the federal government has stated it would embrace schools funding reform consistent with the Gonski funding principals.

The Gonski report according to their website was “the most comprehensive investigation of the way schools are funded in Australia in almost 40 years”.

State member for Narre Warren South, Judith Graley, said almost all the schools in her electorate where taking part in the strike action.

“Strike action is a last resort but they’ve been pushed into this situation because of the failure of the Baillieu government to honour their word and live up to their promise that they [Victorian teachers] would be the best paid teachers in Australia,” Mrs Graley said.

Mrs Bluett also launched a new website for all parents, teachers and members which has all the up to date information on the campaign.

Please click on the link to view photos of the Teachers Rally

Animal Aid welfare worker, Sharon Smith holding her pet dog, Eagan.

How sweet it is to be welcomed home by family after a long time apart.

Or so it must’ve felt if these three pet cats, two guinea pigs and one rabbit were given a voice.

The furry passengers were gripped with excitement as they were driven home in a van by Animal Aid welfare worker, Sharon Smith.

Earlier that day, Sharon received a phone call saying the pet owner, a mother of three, had found a new home and escaped the clutches of her abusive partner.

“I don’t know who was more excited, me or the lady,” said Sharon.

For a month these animals had been in the care of Animal Aid, a not-for-profit animal welfare organisation.

Now it was time to return them to a new home, free from fear and domestic abuse.

“When I knocked at the door all I could hear was ‘mummy they’re here, they’re here’. The sheer excitement in all of their voices, including the mum, was putting a big lump in my throat,” said Sharon, the memories of the occasion still bright in her eyes.

“Well, the tears were flowing with joy from the kids. And the pets were getting so many cuddles and kisses. It was just beautiful to watch.”

This story is one of hope and not despair – sadly, this is not the case for many other pets and families in need.

And it’s hitting closer to home than ever before.

“Sometimes I wonder what this family would have done if they hadn’t been told about our Pets in Peril program. Would they still be living with the perpetrator? Or would they have fled and have had to leave the pets behind, and not know what the future would have been for the pets?” said Sharon.

Recent reports confirm that family violence-related crime has climbed by 39.9 per cent in Victoria, with the state’s overall crime rate rising for the first time since 2000/2001.

A 2008 Monash University study has also proven that more than 50 per cent of victims delay leaving a violent relationship, fearing the abuser will harm the family pet.

Leaving these victims silenced.

A furry adoption candidate in the Animal Aid cattery

Launched in 2006, Animal Aid’s Pets in Peril program offers a way of giving them a voice.

Debra Boland, Animal Aid Marketing and Communications Manager, said that the program offers temporary accommodation to the pets of victims fleeing domestic violence.

“Basically we give them about 28 days but unfortunately that is rarely long enough. And we are often asked to extend that period of time. And we do,” said Debra.

“It means that victims will no longer have to compromise their safety and the safety of their children for the sake of their pets.”

In September 2012, the Baillieu government pledged 16 million dollars in response to the rise in domestic violence in Victoria.

But space in the Animal Aid facilities is limited, and they receive no government funding for the 6000 animals they take in each year.

“Ignorance is probably too hard a word, but a lack of government understanding of the role animal shelters play in the domestic violence realm,” said Debra

“It’s a logical conclusion to give the money to the domestic violence support services. They just don’t see Animal Aid as one of them.”

Despite no official government funding, the efforts of over 470 volunteers help maintain programs like Pets in Peril.

The program’s role is now being recognised by the Yarra Ranges Council Youth Services, which is sponsoring a Dog-A-Thon to raise funds and awareness.

“Aside from being an animal lover, I want to make a difference to the lives of those that cannot speak for themselves,” said Romina Inglese, member of the Council’s ‘Youth Leaders’ program.

“All proceeds will go to Animal Aid to build more infrastructure as part of their campaign to rescue more animals.”

The campaign is called Give Them A Voice, and it intends to do exactly that.

For more information please ring 9739 0300, or visit the official Animal Aid and Give Them a Voice website.
Donate to Animal Aid at any branch of Bendigo Bank.

by Kate Hansen

It was the 2010 Victorian State elections. Liberal MP Mary Wooldridge stood at the entrance of community agency, Connections in Blackburn, proclaiming how valuable social workers were to the Ballieu party, vowing to fund pay increases for the Community sector should the Victorian LNP win the election.

Baillieu did go on to win that election, but it seems his party has a case of amnesia when it comes to promises the party dished out along the campaign trail.

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