YEAR OF THE BLOOD DONOR
Mr ANDREW STONER
(Oxley—Leader of The Nationals) [5.44 p.m.]: Members would be aware that this year is the Year of the Blood Donor. I encourage as many people as possible to participate. I will advise the House of the efforts of an outstanding young man from the Nambucca Valley. Peter Argent was a former Macksville High School captain who was tragically killed in a freak skateboard accident at Nambucca Heads just 12 months ago at the age of 19. Peter was a very popular young man in his community. He was also a regular and enthusiastic blood donor. Fittingly, his blood type was B-positive, reflecting his personality. In life, Peter strongly encouraged blood donation and even after his sad passing he continues to do so. Many of Peter's mates have been inspired to donate blood, and his family have set up a Facebook site, Be Positive 4 Pete, to record the numbers of people who donate blood. More than 1,000 members have joined that Facebook group, which I will also join. I, for one, will donate blood next week.
Peter also wished to be an organ donor and had indicated donor "A" on his licence. Sadly his wishes could not be met with his family totally unprepared for his sudden and tragic passing. Peter's mother, Kerrie Argent, is an award-winning head teacher of secondary studies at Bowraville Central School. Mrs Argent has made the very good suggestion that the low organ donation rates in New South Wales, and indeed Australia, can be improved through the education of our young people in high schools. I am very pleased that the Minister for Education and Training is in the Chamber. Mrs Argent suggested that the new national education reform package is the ideal opportunity to adopt a nationally consistent educational approach to educate students in regard to organ donation and transplantation. That is done in other jurisdictions with great success with Queensland having a pilot scheme underway. I ask the Minister to take up this issue with her department and her State and Federal colleagues.
Mrs Argent has offered to contribute to this effort via secondment within the Department of Education and Training or perhaps via a study grant. As her local member I support her as an outstanding teacher with a strong commitment to this issue. I ask the Minister to support Mrs Argent in her very worthwhile endeavours. It is germane upon all of us to increase the levels of blood and organ donation in Australia and, indeed, in New South Wales. Peter Argent did all he could in regard to blood and organ donation. His mother wants to ensure that his legacy lives on and that the issues that contribute to the relatively low donation rates in this jurisdiction are addressed. In Peter Argent's memory we should all endeavour to improve blood and organ donation rates in New South Wales.