Local organisations can now apply for a new Community Shade Grant to provide much needed shade in public areas.

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

In 2014, melanoma was the fifth most common cancer in Victoria with 2,466 new cases diagnosed, and 279 deaths from the disease.

Given this, it’s so important that Victorians are sun smart – and that includes staying in the shade when possible.

Shade as a sun protection measure alone can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent, and this is strengthened when used in combination with other sun protection strategies such as sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and protective clothing.

The Andrews Labor Government’s $10 million Community Shade Grants Program is now open for the first round of applications, and Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing MP is encouraging all local sports clubs, community groups, and councils to apply.

There are three Community Shade Grants available – up to $5000, $5,000 to $20,000, and $20,000 to $50,000 – which can be used for the construction of a new shade, to purchase a portable shade, plant a natural shade, repair an existing shade, or any combination of these.

In addition, a portion of a grant may be used to purchase hats and sunscreen, to further support community groups to be sun smart.

Applications for the first round of the Community Shade Grants Program close on Sunday 13 December 2015, with grants to be awarded from later that month. Funding rounds will be conducted every year.

To apply, visit

The Community Shade Grants Program is part of the Government’s broader investment in skin cancer prevention. In the 2015-16 State Budget, the Government also invested $5 million to support SunSmart education campaigns.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

“Skin cancer is a major health issue for Australians, yet it’s mostly preventable.”

“With summer approaching, we’re all looking forward to spending more time outdoors. But it’s important that we take precautions to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of UV radiation, like staying in the shade.”

“These grants will provide communities with more shaded areas so families can enjoy their time outdoors while being protected from the sun.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing

“Whether it’s playing sport or having a picnic, we’re a community that loves being outdoors.”

“These grants will help local organisations purchase or repair shades so that we can enjoy the weather and spend time with family and friends outside, while still being sunsmart.”

“I encourage all local groups to apply for a Community Shade Grant so we can enjoy our summers more safely.”