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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (23 October) . .

Page.. 3581..

I encourage those opposite—whilst I am sure there is some electoral benefit in writing vast numbers of letters to the government—to encourage their constituents—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR RATTENBURY: The catcalling across the chamber seemed to be, "You never do anything in response." We have actually just demonstrated an example. But the point is that it is far more efficient to get things done through Canberra Connect or "fix my street". That is why the government has put these systems in place and that is why TAMS works very hard to deliver through those systems.

Men's shed program—grants

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. Minister, you recently launched a men's shed grants program. Can you inform the Assembly about the purpose of these grants?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Porter for her question and her keen interest in the men's shed program across the territory. The ACT government recognises that men's sheds provide much-valued social opportunities, health benefits, social support and camaraderie for men of all ages and backgrounds, abilities and cultures.

The Assembly would be aware that there is a reluctance by some men to face personal issues such as depression, health and isolation, particularly after significant life-changing events such as retirement, serious illness, family breakdown, financial stress and perhaps drug or alcohol issues. So initiatives such as men's sheds, targeted at providing help to older men, provide a much-needed opportunity for our society to engage with the older, tougher generation on these issues and assist them and their families by providing support and tackling some of these difficult issues.

The initiative to provide more men's sheds in the ACT was an ACT government commitment in the 2012 election. This government set aside $200,000 to undertake a feasibility study and design study to assess the need to establish additional men's sheds across Canberra.

The findings of the feasibility study have identified further opportunities to work with men's sheds and provide some useful recommendations about the most beneficial ways in which the ACT government can support the existing community of men's sheds.

The government recognised that further assistance could be provided to support men's sheds and, through this support, provide strong benefits to the broader community. As was recommended in the feasibility study, the government has now developed the new men's sheds grants program, which will provide assistance to support the ongoing operations of men's sheds in Canberra. Applications for the inaugural 2014-15 ACT men's sheds support grants program opened on Friday, 10 October and will close on Monday, 17 November.

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