ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Mental Health for the Minister for Health

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Health and concerns the government’s SunSmart program. The action I seek is that she approves the school shade grants application of Hawthorn West Primary in my electorate. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with two in three Australians being diagnosed with the disease before age 70. In 2017 melanoma was the fourth-most common cancer in Victoria, and yet it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. The Labor government’s Victorian Cancer Plan has a target to halve the proportion of Victorians diagnosed with preventable cancers by 2040.

We know that shade used in combination with other sun protection measures, including protective clothing, broadbrimmed hats, sunglasses and SPF 30 plus or higher sunscreen, provides the best protection from harmful UV radiation exposure, which is responsible for the majority of skin cancer. The Andrews Labor government last term delivered $15 million in SunSmart programs, including $10 million for the oversubscribed school and community shade grants program. In the budget this year the government has delivered on an election commitment and funded $15.1 million in SunSmart programs, including another $10 million for the hugely successful school and community shade grants program.

The SunSmart campaign has a long history in Victoria. Originally it was funded by the Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation in 1988. The SunSmart program leads the world in skin cancer prevention. Today SunSmart is a multifaceted program recognised for providing leadership and innovation in ultraviolet radiation protection. Programs operate in each state and territory of Australia by respective cancer councils, all using common principles but tailored to jurisdictional priorities. The sun protection message has expanded to ‘slip, slop, slap, seek, slide’. SunSmart’s mission is to reduce skin cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality through a targeted prevent ion and early detection program. The SunSmart objectives for 2016 to 2019 are to improve skin cancer prevention awareness, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in priority populations; support priority populations to detect skin cancers earlier; and advocate for measures that aim to reduce the health and economic burdens of skin cancer. The shade grants program provides further funding for new permanent shade, natural shade, portable shade and sun protective items.

Answer.

I thank the member for raising this issue with me and would like to note the Member’s tireless advocacy for his local constituents. In particular, I note your support towards Hawthorn West Primary School.

The Andrews Labor Government continues to deliver on the election commitment to provide $15.1 million dollars for Shade Grants and community awareness campaigns over 2019 – 2023. The Shade Grants Program provides grants to Victorian government schools and community organisations for shade development and sun protection items, including hats and sunscreen.

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

Round four of the Program generated a large amount of interest, reflecting the need for greater shade availability in schools. In November 2019, I announced that 77 schools will share in almost $1 million from the latest round of the Andrews Labor Government’s School Shade Grants program.

I am pleased to note that Hawthorn West Primary School was successful in its applications for funding.

Jenny Mikakos MP
Minister for Health
Minister for Ambulance Services