Victorians enjoying the outdoors are about to get some much needed protection from harmful UV radiation with the installation of shade at sports clubs, parks, community venues and playgrounds.
Visiting the Bonbeach Lifesaving Club today, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy joined Member for Carrum Sonya Kilkenny, and SunSmart Ambassador Catherine Andrews, to announce 323 recipients of grants from the first round of the Andrews Labor Government’s Community Shade Grants Program.
Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and in 2014 melanoma was the fifth most common cancer in Victoria. It’s estimated that 40,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Victoria every year.
Shade is a simple and effective way to protect ourselves from the sun and by doing so reduces the likelihood of deadly skin cancer. National data from the Cancer Council has revealed that the top three outdoor activity locations reported to lack shade were public parks or gardens (70 per cent), local pools (67 per cent) and sports centres (62 per cent).
The Labor Government has committed $15 million for skin cancer prevention initiatives, including $5 million for SunSmart campaigns and $10 million in grants for shade in public places. The community grants will be used to build new shade, repair existing shade, purchase portable shade or create natural shade by planting trees, as well as purchasing hats and sunscreen.
The Bonbeach Lifesaving Club will receive $3,500 to purchase a portable shade to protect nippers and professional life savers from the summer sun while patrolling the beach.
Priority for grants has been given to rural and regional areas with high rates of skin cancer and mortality and areas of socioeconomic disadvantage. At least one grant was awarded in each of the 79 Local Government Areas.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Even though survival rates are at an all-time high, there are still too many Victorians dying of cancer.”
“These grants will provide communities with more shaded areas so everyone can enjoy their time outdoors safely.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Carrum Sonya Kilkenny
”This grant will mean more shade and protection for nippers and life savers when they’re out on the job.”
“We all love spending time outdoors but it is important we are adequately protected from the sun, especially between September to April when UV levels are high.”
Quotes attributable to SunSmart Ambassador Catherine Andrews
“Skin cancer is incredibly common with 40,000 new cases diagnosed in Victoria each year. The good news is that it’s also one of our most preventable cancers.”
“It’s vital that we keep slipping on a shirt, slopping on the sunscreen, slapping on a hat, sliding on some sunnies, and seeking shade – being sun smart could save your life.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020