New figures reveal nearly 1,900 Australians are waiting for organ donations, but fewer than 200 donated their organs last year.
The figures have been revealed at the start of Organ Donation Awareness Week, which aims to encourage people to consider registering as a donor.
More than 1,300 of those waiting need a kidney, while close to 200 need a liver.
The Federal Government has taken steps to reform the organ donation system, due to the poor rate of donation.
A group of experts has put forward 51 recommendations to improve the donation rate, and a committee will oversee a range of changes from April 1.
Tony Tynan, whose son Duncan donated his skin, says people need to respect the wishes of those who register for organ donation.
"Eighty per cent renege on the deceased's wishes, and that's an appalling figure," he said.
"So we decided there and then there could be no greater gift than the gift of life, as both a way of easing the pain of losing someone, and typifying the Aussie ethic of helping out in a crisis."
Twenty-three-year-old John Prior is being kept alive by a mechanical heart while waiting for a transplant and he is urging people to consider becoming donors.
"I realise it is quite a confronting topic and sounds grim, but on the positive side, your decision could be empowering," he said.
"A cyclist recently transformed seven people's lives by simply registering.
"So don't take your organs to heaven; heaven knows we need them here."
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through tissue donation