Bendigo residents have been urged to register for organ donation as a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into improving donation rates in Victoria gets underway. Bendigo-based upper house MP Gaelle Broad said she had seen firsthand the hardship experienced by people needing new organs and the transformative effects of receiving them. Among the states and territories, Victoria's 23 per cent is the second-lowest donor registration rate. But surprisingly, Greater Bendigo's registrations as a percentage of the population are much higher than in the City of Melbourne. Figures provided by the OTA show there were 1079 registered donors in Greater Bendigo at the end of last year. With a population of 122,551, that gives the municipality a rate of 22.89 per cent. It compares with 22.81 per cent of the population who are registered donors in Ballarat, 25.39 per cent in Greater Geelong, 27.15 in Wangaratta and just 13.91 per cent in the City of Melbourne. The launch of the Legal and Social Issues Committee inquiry on the subject would provided a timely reminder to consider signing up to potentially help make that change happen. "Just one organ donor can save up to seven lives - that in itself is an amazing outcome," she said. "In addition, many more can be helped through tissue donation." According to Australia's Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA), around 1800 Australians are currently waiting for an organ transplant, "which can be a matter of life or death", and 14,000 are on dialysis. Australia has a high transplantation success rate but despite a majority of Australians supporting organ and tissue donation, only 36 per cent of people nationally are registered as donors. IN OTHER NEWS: The Victorian parliamentary committee inquiry comes at a time when both donation and transplant rates, while improving slightly, are still suffering the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a 15 per cent drop in both organ donors and transplants. Ms Broad said she was keen to raise awareness about the issue because she had worked with people on dialysis and "seen their struggle". "I also know a couple where the wife donated a kidney to her husband, and through a joint operation (across states and different people) he received a kidney transplant. It not only saved his life, but the family has been able to enjoy life and travel again," she said. OTA CEO Lucinda Barry AM said her organisation was calling on everyone who supports donation "to take the next step". "It's easy. You can register in just three taps on your Medicare App, or online at donatelife.gov.au. And, don't forget to let your family know you want to be a donor," she said. Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with the Bendigo Advertiser app. Click here to download.