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Shades of Glory: Entries sought for SunSmart awards

Friday 15 August, 2008

The SunSmart Shade Awards recognise organisations providing sun protection through innovative shade provision. This year, for the first time, workplaces, sports clubs, schools and early childhood centres, as well as local government, are invited to enter their shade designs and/or policies for a chance to win a coveted SunSmart Shade Award.

SunSmart Manager, Sue Heward, said organisations had a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment by offering protection from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

"Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, and more than 1,000 Australians are treated for skin cancer every day. UV radiation through sun exposure has been identified as the cause of around 99 per cent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 95 per cent of melanoma in Australia," Ms Heward said.[1]

While shade alone can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent, Ms Heward said that many outdoor venues and facilities in Victoria have inadequate levels of shade.[2]

"When it comes to preventing skin cancer, seeking shade is just as important as wearing sunscreen and a hat. The aim of the SunSmart Shade Awards is to highlight the organisations in Victoria which have fantastic shade initiatives in place. This is an opportunity for them to showcase the great work they are doing and inspire other organisations to get serious about sun protection," Ms Heward said.

"We would like to see more organisations demonstrate a commitment to shade planning and designing attractive and practical open spaces that take into account sun protection," Ms Heward said.

Previously only open to local government, entries for the SunSmart Shade Awards are now also encouraged from workplaces, sports clubs, schools and early childhood services.


Entries for the 2008 SunSmart Shade Awards close on Friday October 10.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in November. For more information or to download an application form visit Alternatively call 9635 5148 or email

There are four categories for the 2008 Shade Awards:

1. Schools and early childhood services

2. Local government

3. Sports clubs

4. Workplaces

Winners of the 2007 SunSmart Shade Awards included Frankston City Council, for the best shade structure/design (built and/or natural) in the Melbourne Metropolitan area; and Swan Hill City Council, for the best shade structure/design (built and/or natural) in rural Victoria. 


Media contacts:

Judges for the 2008 SunSmart Shade Awards:

  • John Greenwood, an architect with 25 years experience in design and construction. John specializes in designing and planning outdoor environments that are protected from UV radiation.
  • Peter Hirst, and architect, town planner and urban designer. Peter has worked on the planning and design of award winning subdivisions and housing, ensuring solar access and solar control.
  • Clare Hargreaves, Manager of Social Policy for the Municipal Association of Victoria. Clare has 30 years experience in working in the public sector for both state and local governments where one of her main focuses has been social planning.

Winners of the 2007 SunSmart Shade Awards:

  • Frankston City Council received the Metropolitan Shade Award for the Waterfront Regional Playground.
  • Swan Hill Rural City Council received the SunSmart Rural Shade Award for Riverside Park.
  • City of Greater Geelong was Highly Commended by the judges for the shade structures at the Lara Swimming Pool.
  • Highly commended in the Metropolitan Shade Award went to the City of Boroondara for their shade structure at Hays Paddock. The judges described the increased shade in this playground as a striking and imaginative project that incorporates shade elements with objects of fun.

Skin cancer statistics:

Most recent figures from The Cancer Council Victoria show 2,347 Victorians were diagnosed with melanoma in 2005, and 245 Victorians died from melanoma.

When the UV Index reaches 3 and above, use a combination of the following five sun protection measures:

  • slip on some sun protective clothing;
  • slop on broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen;
  • slap on a hat;
  • seek shade;
  • slide on some sunglasses.

 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) & Australasian Association of Cancer Registries (AACR). Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2006. Cancer Series Number 37. Canberra: AIHW, 2007.

Parsons PG, Neale R, Wolski P, Green A. The shady side of solar protection. Medical Journal of Australia 1998; 168: 327-330.