Cancer Council NSW is urging local councils across the Far North Coast to invest their share of the Federal Government’s $300 million infrastructure funding on shade in recreation areas.

“One in two Australian’s face the prospect of developing skin cancer in their lifetime and about 263 people in the Northern Rivers will be diagnosed with melanoma this year,” Diana Fisher from Cancer Council’s Far North Coast Office in Alstonville said. 

“Providing shade in recreation areas is a simple and effective way of preventing sunburn and the associated risk of skin cancer. 

“NSW has a sunny climate and we are lucky enough to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. 

“However, research shows that people believe it’s difficult to find adequate shade at local parks, playgrounds and sports grounds. 

“This funding gives councils in the Northern Rivers the funds and opportunity to act upon residents’ needs, by providing a safety net against skin cancer – a preventable disease – in our backyard.” 

Cancer Council’s National Sun Survey 2006-2007 also revealed that adults in wealthier areas are more likely to use shade, and less likely to be sunburnt.

This survey shows how public open spaces in wealthier neighbourhoods are more likely to have shade, Ms Fisher said.

“Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate against wealth, status or postcode, so while this is great news for people living in such areas, it’s not so good for those living in less wealthy neighbourhoods,” she said. 

“I encourage local council to grasp this chance to invest their bonus funding on shade, to ensure all residents have plentiful and equal access to this important form of sun protection. 

“Taking this step would be a great investment for Northern Rivers communities.

“Not only would it help residents to better enjoy their recreation facilities, it could also help drive down skin cancer rates across the area.”