SCHOOL SHADES GRANT PROGRAM

Minister’s Statement

I rise to update the house on a very exciting announcement—and that is, the opening of round 4 of the school and community shade grants programs. Earlier this month I visited the White Hills Primary School in Bendigo, which was a recipient of round 3 of the school shade grants program, and saw firsthand our schoolkids enjoying the outdoors whilst also being protected from harmful UV rays. Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70. In 2017 melanoma was the fourth most common cancer in Victoria, but we know that it is also one of the most preventable.

That is why as part of our $15.1 million SunSmart election commitment, which we fully funded in this year’s state budget, the Andrews Labor government is giving a big $10 million boost to the shade grants program. This will pave the way for more than 800 schools and community groups to install shade over the next four years. Schools are able to apply for a grant of up to $25 000 and community organisations for a grant of up to $50 000.

Shade structures, we know, are the best defence from dangerous UV rays but should also be used alongside other sun protection measures, such as sunscreen and protective clothing, which is why as part of the boost schools and community groups will also be able to share in $2 million for other protective measures, such as sunhats and sunscreen. In the first three rounds 1000 schools and groups have already received grants to provide shade and sun protection to kids in the community. We know that kids, like the ones at White Hills Primary School, are getting the protection they need and are able to enjoy the great outdoors. We encourage more schools and community groups to follow suit and apply for these grants as well. I thank Ms Vaghela for her interest last night in raising this matter with me in the adjournment. Due to the time limitations that I referred to earlier, I was not able to give her a very expansive answer to this matter, because I know Ms Vaghela wanted to go to the joint sitting. Our government is supporting the Victorian Cancer Plan 2016–2020. We have a target to halve preventable cancer— (Time expired)