Background and Context:
In February 2012, New South Wales (NSW) was the first jurisdiction in Australia to announce a ban on commercial cosmetic UV tanning services - second in the world after Brazil to do so.
Cancer Council NSW, a non-profit cancer organisation and the Environmental Protection Authority, the government department responsible for the safe use of radiation emitting devices, worked collaboratively to address the public health risk from solaria. This collaboration contributed to public health reform in NSW that initiated change across Australia. Subsequently, on 31 December 2014, the ban of commercial solaria, with the exception of one state, will be effective across Australia.
Banning commercial solaria in NSW.
The working partnership was successful because it was underpinned by a clear understanding of the parameters within which the respective organisations operate. Each organisation, based on their strengths and roles, took responsibility for different elements of the reform process and built progressively toward the common goal.
Working collaboratively with government to change the law and implement reform relating to solaria required a multi-faceted approach. This included:
- Promoting epidemiological evidence demonstrating increased risk of skin cancer.
- Monitoring industry compliance with a voluntary code of practice and existing government regulation.
- Reporting on global policy trends, including the successful ban in Brazil.
- Supporting community action calling for a ban.
- Political engagement to ensure parliamentarians remained briefed on the evidence and level of community support.
Outcomes/What was learned:
Many organisations and individuals across NSW contributed to the successful outcome of a ban on commercial solaria. A collaborative working partnership between a non-profit cancer organisation with experience in policy advocacy and coordinating strategic activity, and a government department responsible for reviewing policy and implementing the reform, was a critical factor in the outcome.