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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3256 ..


sun-smart and sun-safety behaviours and let us work with key stakeholder organisations to help spread those messages together—organisations like the Cancer Council, SunSmart, our sporting bodies and groups and others.

We have many talented local artists in our community who can develop murals, posters and other forms of signage to provide important messages and reminders to help prevent skin cancer. Improved sun-smart messaging will help individuals in our community and will provide a broad public health benefit for a skin cancer prevention strategy.

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (3.09): The Canberra Liberals support Dr Paterson’s motion today. In 2021, one in 15 Australians will be diagnosed with a melanoma in their lifetime. As the motion notes, Australia has the unenviable title of being a world leader in skin cancer rates. This is a consequence of Australia’s geography, increasingly the effects of climate change and also the Australian lifestyle that we all know and love.

Having said that, at the same time concerns to do with skin cancer must also be balanced, and people need to have plenty of information about the maintenance of vitamin D in the body, which is something that can also be impacted by not being in the sun enough. So it is about finding the right levels.

The ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health’s Professor Robyn Lucas recommends short periods in the sun several times per day in winter and to try and bare as much skin as you can. So it is a really difficult balancing act as we teach the next generation to be sun smart. But sun smart also means being in the sun some of the time. We do not need to be afraid of the sun; we need to learn to manage it.

Australia’s sun-smart messages, as Dr Paterson has said, have been world-leading public health campaigns. Slip, Slop, Slap is now part of the Australian vernacular. It is also important to note that the message has now been updated, as mentioned, to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide, with “seek” meaning seeking shade and “slide” meaning sliding on some sunglasses. Mind you, I have got to add, sunglasses on children are very hard to maintain, and sunglasses for children are very expensive. I am not sure that I am into the last one. But if they have got a good hat on, they have got shade for their eyes as well.

On the data, this campaign has been hugely successful, with the number of 30-year-olds having been diagnosed with a melanoma in 1982 being one in 604 and the number in 2020 being one in 1,169. That is an almost 50 per cent reduction.

Life habits start young, and we have to do all we can to reinforce sun-smart messages amongst our young people. Making sun-smart messages part of children’s regular play activities from an early age is a positive step that we can take to impress upon our young people the importance of preventing skin cancer. This way, fewer of this generation of young people, having learnt about the risks of skin cancer, will potentially suffer the tragic consequences the way previous generations of Australians have.


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