Lack of seeking shade leads to sunburnt teens

Shade grants up to $25,000 now available to secondary schools

Australian teens are failing to seek shade when outdoors, blaming ‘staying in the sun too long’ as the major cause of sunburn, Cancer Council research shows.

Data from the Cancer Council’s National Sun Protection Survey shows one in five adolescents are still getting sunburnt each week, putting them at increased risk of skin cancer.

Cancer Council hopes Australian secondary schools will play a part in turning skin cancer rates around, with the launch of its new secondary school shade initiative funded by the eftpos Giveback program.

From today, Australian high schools will be able to apply to receive up to $25,000 to install shade structures in their school grounds.

The funding has become available after eftpos presented Cancer Council with a $1 million donation.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the grants would play a large part in keeping teenagers protected from the sun.

“Without access to proper shade during school hours, teenagers are putting themselves at risk of developing skin cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“Sun protective behaviours, including seeking shade, are required whenever the UV Index is 3 or above. In Queensland, the UV Index is above 3 every day – so sun protection is required through every season.

“It’s crucial that we instil SunSmart habits in young Queenslanders, and reduce sunburn rates in order to see skin cancer rates decline.

“Around 99 per cent of all skin cancer cases are caused by exposure to UV radiation, so staying SunSmart and seeking shade is imperative for our health.”

eftpos Managing Director, Bruce Mansfield, said he hoped local communities would encourage their local secondary school to apply for a grant.

“Cancer Council was selected as a recipient of our Giveback program donation based on the quality of their shade initiative and the public support that the program received on social media,” Mr Mansfield said.

“We are encouraging Australian parents, students, and local communities to talk to their local high schools about applying for a funding grant.

“Thanks to the millions of Australians who supported our Giveback program in the lead up to Christmas, eftpos was able to donate $1 million to Cancer Council.”

Those schools wishing to apply can find further information at

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171