More Shade To Protect Victorians From Skin Cancer

More Victorians will be protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government installing more sunshades in public areas and sports clubs.

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today announced the 164 community organisations who will share in almost $1 million from the fourth round of the Community Shade Grants Program.

The grants are made available for community groups to construct new shade structures, purchase portable shade, plant natural shade, repair an existing shade, purchase sun protective items or any combination of the five.

When used alongside other sun protection measures such as sunscreen and clothing, shade structures are the best defence and can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent.

Through this program, the Labor Government is supporting more Victorians to keep active and enjoy the outdoors, while also helping them to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer.

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70.

In 2017, 270 Victorians died from melanoma and almost 3,000 people were diagnosed with invasive melanomas – making it the fourth most common cancer across the state. The five-year survival rate for Victorians diagnosed with invasive melanoma was at 90 per cent in 2013-16.

The Labor Government has provided a $10 million boost for the Shade Grants Program in the Victorian Budget 2019/20 – paving the way for more schools and community groups to install shade over the next four years.

This initiative is part of the Labor Government’s election commitment to provide $15.1 million over four years in SunSmart programs.

The Community Shade Grants Program is complemented by the School Shade Grant program, which provides shade for Victorian government schools. Together, these programs have awarded 1,325 grants across Victoria.

It forms part of the Labor Government’s ambitious Victorian Cancer Plan 2016-20 which sets out a target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer over a decade.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“We know how much Australians love the outdoors. These grants mean that the community can still enjoy our great parks, sports fields and playgrounds while staying SunSmart.”

“Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in Australia. That’s why this program is so important to ensure Victorians are protected from harmful UV rays.”

“These grants will provide community groups with the sun protection they need to prevent skin cancer.”