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Organ and Tissue Authority

The OTA was established in 2009 by the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Act 2008 to deliver the national program and improve opportunities for transplantation through increased organ and tissue donation.

To achieve this, we work in collaboration with the Commonwealth Department of Health, state and territory governments, the DonateLife Network, the broad donation and transplantation clinical sectors, eye and tissue banks, community organisations and the general public.

We are an independent micro agency within the Australian Government Health portfolio, located in Canberra.

Governance arrangements

In 2017 the OTA Board was established to consolidate and build on past achievements and to steer the national program forward.

The OTA is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act). The OTA Board is the Accountable Authority under the PGPA Act.

Our Board comprises seven members who bring clinical, business and management experience, knowledge and expertise to strengthen oversight of the OTA and our efforts to increase organ and tissue donation rates.

Photograoh of the OTA Board members with international speakers attending the 2019 Donation and Transplantation ConferenceOTA Board members and the National Medical Director with international speakers at the 2019 Donation and Transplantation Conference (L–R): Howard Nathan, United States; Dr Helen Opdam, National Medical Director; Margaret Kruger; Dr Marisa Herson; Dr Mal Washer, OTA Board Chair; Lucinda Barry, OTA CEO; Dr Chris Callaghan, United Kingdom; Oren Klemich, Dr Nick Cross, New Zealand (Absent: Professor Stephen Lynch AC and Professor Carol Pollock)

Biographies of our Board members are available at www.donatelife.gov.au/about-us/who-we-are/our-board.

Details of the OTA Board during 2018-19

Period as the accountable authority or member


Position held

Date of Commencement

Date of cessation

Dr Mal Washer


1 July 2017


Professor Carol Pollock

Deputy Chair

1 July 2017


Ms Lucinda Barry

OTA CEO/Member

17 September 2017


Dr Marisa Herson


4 October 2017


Mr Oren Klemich


4 October 2017


Ms Margaret Kruger


4 October 2017


Professor Stephen Lynch AC


4 October 2017


Under the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Act 2008, the Board is required to meet at least four times a year. In 2018–19 the Board met five times (four face-to-face meetings and one teleconference) as shown below.

OTA Board meetings 2018-19



Meeting 1

18 September 2018

Meeting 2

11 December 2018

Specific-purpose meeting (teleconference)

15 February 2019

Meeting 3

2 April 2019

Meeting 4

25 June 2019

OTA staff

OTA staff

In 2018–19 our Senior Executive Team comprised:

  • Ms Lucinda Barry (Chief Executive Officer)
  • Dr Helen Opdam (National Medical Director)
  • Ms Judy Harrison (General Manager).

Biographies of our Executive Leadership Team are available at www.donatelife.gov.au/about-us/who-we-are/our-executive.

At 30 June 2019 the OTA employed 25.53 full-time equivalent employees across five business units. Our skilled, expert and dedicated people were integral to delivering our strategic priorities and achieving our outcomes in 2018–19. Our organisational structure for 2018–19 is shown below.

OTA organisational structure 2018-19A diagram showing the OTA's organisational structure in 2018-19

OTA committee structure

Our committee structure gives key stakeholders the opportunity to provide input, advice and recommendations that support the implementation of the national program.

In June 2018 the OTA Board reviewed our committee structure and agreed on a revised structure for 2018–19. The new structure allowed for the establishment of a Community Engagement Group to foster ongoing collaboration with community organisations in order to inform community engagement as part of the national program.

Our Board agreed on further revision of the committee structure in April 2019 which gave all committees a degree of decision-making autonomy. However, all advice and recommendations that have state and territory funding, workforce and policy implications are referred to the Jurisdictional Advisory Group for consideration. All committees report to our CEO, who reports on meeting recommendations and advice to the Board.

The committee structure for 2018–19 is shown below.

OTA committee structure 2018-19A diagram showing the OTA committee structure in 2018-19

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee provides independent advice to the OTA Board, assisting them to meet their duties and obligations regarding financial and performance reporting, risk oversight and management and systems of internal control. See Corporate governance for more information.

Community Engagement Group

The Community Engagement Group was established in 2019 to work collaboratively to inform communications and engagement activities undertaken as part of the national program. The group is chaired by OTA Board member, Mr Oren Klemich. Membership comprises the CEO and representatives from a broad range of community organisations working to promote awareness of organ and tissue donation, including target audience groups such as Indigenous, youth, and culturally and linguistically diverse people. The group gives us a community perspective on relevant issues, emerging trends, and opportunities.

Jurisdictional Advisory Group

The Jurisdictional Advisory Group (JAG), chaired by our CEO, considers and makes recommendations about all aspects of the national program, including strategic priorities, clinical and data governance, and program planning for the DonateLife Network (DLN). The JAG works to ensure that the national program is consistent with state and territory legislation, policies and processes. This group comprises jurisdictional health department representatives and State Medical Directors. In November 2018, membership was expanded to include DonateLife Agency Managers and the OTA General Manager.

Clinical Governance Committee

The Clinical Governance Committee is the peak clinical consultative committee for the DLN. It is chaired by the National Medical Director and comprises the CEO, State Medical Directors, clinical managers from each state and territory, and representatives of the eye and tissue sectors. The committee provides a forum for sharing experiences and new initiatives, and agrees on practices related to the implementation of the national program in DonateLife hospitals and opportunities for improving clinical practice.

Eye and Tissue Advisory Committee

The Eye and Tissue Advisory Committee facilitates communication between the OTA and the eye, tissue and organ donation sectors. Together, they develop and implement programs to support the provision of eyes and tissues for all Australians in need. The committee is chaired by the OTA and the membership comprises representatives from all Australian eye and tissue banks, as well as the Australian Government’s Health Technology Assessment Branch and the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Transplant Liaison Reference Group

The Transplant Liaison Reference Group facilitates engagement with the transplantation sector on matters relevant to the national program and provides advice on issues and emerging trends that have implications for transplantation matters more broadly. Membership comprises our CEO, the National Medical Director, and representatives from the:

  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (ANZSN)
  • Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ)
  • DonateLife Network
  • Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society
  • Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry
  • Australasian Transplant Coordinators Association
  • Transplant Nurses Association
  • Transplant Australia.

Vigilance and Surveillance Expert Advisory Committee

The Vigilance and Surveillance Expert Advisory Committee, established in May 2017, monitors the performance of the Australian vigilance and surveillance system and provides advice on emerging risks identified in the organ and tissue donation and transplantation sectors. Membership comprises high-level technical specialists with relevant expertise from key clinical stakeholders, government, and professional organisations.

Purpose-specific working groups

We have a number of purpose-specific working groups. In 2018–19 the following groups were active:

  • Communications Reference Group
  • Data and Audit Working Group
  • Family Support Advisory Group
  • Education Coordinators Network
  • Electronic Donor Record Working Group.