More than 40 community groups in Northern Victoria, including Benalla, have shared in nearly $600000 Andrews Labor Government funding to get some much-needed protection from harmful UV radiation by increasing shade in public community places.
Labor Upper House Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes last week announced the recipients of grants from the second round of the Andrews Labor Government’s Community Shade Grants Program totalling $540913.16.
Benalla Golf Club received a grant of $18181.82.
Shade in outdoor public spaces, when used along with other sun-protection measures, including sunscreen and protective clothing, forms the best defence against UV over-exposure.
‘‘Labor is supporting people in country Victoria to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer, while also embracing the outdoors and enjoying a more active and healthy lifestyle,’’ Ms Symes said.
‘‘Skin cancer is a major health issue for Victorians, yet its mostly preventable, that’s why the people of Northern Victoria need to be sun smart.
‘‘Spending time outdoors is part of a healthy lifestyle and it is important shade is easily available where people come together.
‘‘With nearly $7 million already delivered, our shade grants are making a real difference to country Victorians and supporting the fight against skin cancer.’’
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 and government schools.
The Community Shade Grant 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 40000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Victoria every year, and in 2015, 421 Victorians died from skin cancer, more than 1.5 times the Victorian road toll that year.
The Community Shade Grant Program is complemented by the School Shade Grant Program, which provides grants for shade in Victorian Government schools.
So far, these programs have awarded 691 grants, totalling $6.8million in funding with two more rounds to come.
Our Victorian Cancer Plan 2016-20 has set an ambitious target of saving 10000 lives from cancer in the next 10 years.