Grants for shade
Two community groups are beneficiaries of Victorian Government funding to get some protection from harmful UV radiation by increasing shade in their outdoor spaces.
Avenel Action Group and the Avenel Market received a combined grant for portable shade worth $1200, while the Seymour Sharks Swimming Club’s $4483 grant will allow it to also purchase some portable shade.
The grants are part of the second round of the Community Shade Grants Program.
Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said shade in outdoor public spaces, when used along with other sun protection measures including sunscreen and protective clothing, formed the best defence against UV over-exposure.
‘‘Skin cancer is a major health issue for Victorians, yet it’s mostly preventable,’’ she said.
‘‘Spending time outdoors is part of a healthy lifestyle, and it is important shade is easily available where people come together.’’
Ms Symes said the Victorian Government had committed $15 million for skin cancer prevention initiatives, including $5 million for SunSmart campaigns and $10 million in grants for shade in public places and government schools.
The program provides grants for shade development, including building new shade, repairing existing shade, purchasing portable shade or creating natural shade by planting trees.
Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world with two in three Australians diagnosed by the age of 70.
It is estimated that 40 000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Victoria every year. In 2015, 421 Victorians died from skin cancer, which was more than the Victorian road toll that year.