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Recognition and Reward of Local Government Sun-safety Initiatives in North Queensland: An Environmental Health Promotion Pilot

  • Year: 2008
  • Author: Bartlett, Lynne; Harrison, Simone; Taylor, Christine
  • Journal Name: Environmental Health,
  • Journal Number: Vol. 8, No. 4
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Queensland

North Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Local Government Authorities (LGAs) are ideally placed to provide recreational facilities that protect the population from ultraviolet radiation. In 2005, consistent with outcomes proposed within the Queensland Skin Cancer Prevention Strategic Plan 2001-2005, the North Queensland Skin Cancer Network (NQSCN) conducted a pilot award scheme to promote and support the development of quality sun-safety strategies. Sixty-four councils in North Queensland were encouraged to enter their most sun safe initiative. The NQSCN established a 7-point assessment criterion, used by five impartial judges to determine the winner, who received a plaque, perpetual trophy and $2500 for further sun-safety initiatives at an award ceremony attended by the media. Seven high quality entries were received: four from rural and three from regional shire councils. Whilst most entries were shade structures, the winner, an urban council, nominated the development of an urban forest. Barriers to participation included: workforce shortages; economic viability; and incomplete projects at nomination closure. Building on the success of this pilot, NQSCN plans to explore the feasibility of statewide and/or national expansion using the Keep Australia Beautiful Tidy-Towns model with onsite evaluation and corporate sponsorship and branding.

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